Cancer patients will benefit from new and improved patient app
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) patients currently using the regional MyChart app to access personal health information like hospital test results are about to get a new and improved online tool. The new MyChart app by Epic will be available to all HHS patients — including those already using the existing version — beginning June 4.
That’s when HHS is launching its new, fully-electronic hospital information system called Epic, and with it, the new MyChart app.
“Digital health care is the future of health care, and HHS is excited to be among the first hospitals in Canada to implement Epic’s cutting edge and fully electronic system,” says Michelle Leafloor, vice-president of health information and technology services, and chief information officer for HHS.
This new MyChart app, managed by HHS, replaces the regional tool currently available to HHS patients through Sunnybrook Hospital. Several hospitals in south-west Ontario, including HHS, have offered the Sunnybrook MyChart online tool to patients since 2018.
Even though both patient tools have the same name, they’re different products by different companies. Patients using the “old” MyChart tool will need to set up an account in the MyChart by Epic app.
User-friendly with many patient benefits
“Some HHS patients, including cancer patients, have been using the Sunnybrook version until now,” says Michele Cardoso, a clinical specialist radiation therapist at the HHS Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, and member of the HHS team working to launch the new Epic MyChart app.
“This new app is a great tool for all patients, including cancer patients. It’s extremely user-friendly, and offers many new and exciting features,” says Cardoso.
Cancer patients often receive care from multiple areas of the hospital, from diagnostic imaging to clinics and treatment areas like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. MyChart by Epic keeps track of it all so patients can see their appointment details, the names of their health-care team members, lab and test results, medications, discharge summaries, consult notes and more.
Dr. Barry Lumb, executive lead for the HHS team implementing the new hospital information system, calls MyChart by Epic a “game-changer” for patients.
“After June 4, patients can use the app to access and update their personal health information at their convenience, which will empower them to be more informed and engaged in their health care experience,” says Lumb. “I’m excited to see how many patients take advantage of MyChart, Epic’s patient portal. This is a powerful tool that will help patients understand and keep track of their personal health information.”
Its many other features include virtual visits through video conferencing and the ability to upload pictures of, for example, a rash or wound, to help with assessing and monitoring care.
Patients can also share their hospital information with loved ones and caregivers so that everyone can see the same information in their account.
“Having access to this information will help patients better prepare for in-person visits with their HHS physicians and other health-care team members,” says Cardoso. “It will definitely improve and support communication between patients and the hospital team members caring for them.”
Patients can share records with their non-hospital doctors and caregivers, enter their own health information within a secure personal health record space, and access health education materials. MyChart by Epic can even connect to some existing personal health platforms like Apple Health.
All patients are encouraged to sign up for MyChart. Signing up is quick and easy, and there are several ways patients can do this.
“As someone who works with cancer patients, I’m very excited about the new Epic MyChart app,” says Cardoso. “Patients are our partners in care. This approach is at the core of how we practice and the opportunity to have the very best communication tools available to our patients, physicians and staff is extremely important to us.”