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There’s an app for that: N.S. announces pilot project that gives patients access to their medical records


Nova Scotia announced a new pilot project Tuesday that will give patients access to their medical records through an app called YourHealthNS.

About 12,000 patients from four clinics will receive information about how to log in to view their medical history this week, according to a news release from the province.

“We made it easier for Nova Scotians to navigate the healthcare system and now we’re taking it one step further by giving patients more access and control over their health information,” said Premier Tim Houston in the release.

“The addition of patient records makes it easy, convenient and faster for Nova Scotians to access their own information, all in one place, to better manage their own healthcare.”

According to Dr. Aaron Smith, medical executive director of the Northern Zone, research shows that patient engagement in their own health leads to better understanding of their health conditions and better health outcomes.

“Both as a medical leader and as a family physician, I firmly believe that giving patients access to their own health information is fundamental to quality and compassionate patient care,” said Smith during a Tuesday news conference.

Participating clinics

The participating clinics are:

  • New Waterford Collaborative Practice
  • Westville Medical Clinic
  • Greenwood Family Health
  • Queens Family Health

“These are practices who are the best of the best in terms of how they already leverage technology. So they’ve been really excellent in helping us find creative solutions of how we are going to capture that clinical impact,” said Dr. Ashley Miller, chief medical information officer with Nova Scotia Health, during the news conference.

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston speaks at a news conference on Jan. 30, 2024.

Scott McKenna, chief information officer with Nova Scotia Health, says it cost approximately $2 million to design and develop the application and to integrate secure authentication.

Patients will have access to information such as:

  • visits to their primary care provider, including the date, time and reason
  • virtual care appointments, including the date, time and reason
  • hospital and emergency department visits, including length of stay and discharge information
  • their list of medications, along with the prescription name, dosage and how long they should take the medicine
  • information on diagnostic imaging scans – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) computed tomography (CT) and X-ray – limited to date, body part, referring physician and treatment method
  • lab results, including blood, urine and general lab tests

Pilot project

The province says the new app is part of a “larger digital health transformation.”

“As a physician, I believe that the preference and the ultimate goal for any family doctor is the well-being of our patients. Providing them the autonomy to view their health records and the opportunity to review this first-hand is always something I have stood for,” said Dr. Emmanuel Ajuwon, with the New Waterford Collaborative Practice, in the release.

“This affords the patient the opportunity to be an active participant in their health, which I am in total support of, along with this initiative. It is a step in the right direction.”

The pilot will run until the end of March. Participants will have access to all historical health data records and can choose whether they access the records, according to the province.

“We’re going to listen and learn from both providers and patients. What worked well? How can we improve?” said McKenna.

“The next step is how can we improve this and expand it to Nova Scotians.”

The goal is for every Nova Scotian to have access to their health-care records by the end of June, according to the premier.

Prioritizing security

McKenna says, when deciding to provide access to health records in a digital format, security was a top priority.

“We’ve partnered with our folks in government and cyber security and digital solutions to use their secure sign-on authentication,” says McKenna.

“There are no health records inside of this application. Our health records are secure, in a secure environment and are protected to the standard that we need to protect the health records. The application is just a way to access and view it after having the right authentication to see it.”

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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