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Pilot project to allow 12,000 Nova Scotians to access their medical records

Premier Tim Houston, left, speaks at the announcement of the pilot project. Dr. Aaron Smith, medical executive director of Nova Scotia Health's northern zone, centre, and Scott McKenna, chief information information officer at Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health, look on. (Jean Laroche/CBC - image credit)
Premier Tim Houston, left, speaks at the announcement of the pilot project. Dr. Aaron Smith, medical executive director of Nova Scotia Health's northern zone, centre, and Scott McKenna, chief information information officer at Nova Scotia Health and IWK Health, look on. (Jean Laroche/CBC - image credit)

Starting Tuesday, 12,000 patients attached to clinics in New Waterford, Westville, Greenwood and Liverpool can access their medical files, but only if they use the YourHealthNS app launched in November.

The participating clinics are the New Waterford Collaborative Practice, Westville Medical Clinic, Greenwood Family Health and Queens Family Health.

The information the patients can access through the app includes:

  • A record of clinic visits, including who they saw, when and why.

  • Hospital and emergency department visits.

  • A list of prescribed medications, along with dosage and usage instructions.

  • Results of some diagnostic scans, such as MRIs, CT scans and X-rays.

  • Lab results, such as blood and urine tests.

The initiative is part of a six-week pilot project to evaluate how having that information changes the way patients look after their health or interact with their care providers.

"The research shows that leads to improved health outcomes," said Dr. Aaron Smith, medical executive director of Nova Scotia Health's northern zone. "It also helps providers work with patients to ensure they receive high quality, safe and very compassionate care."

Provincewide expansion?

What officials learn from this pilot project will determine when it can be expanded provincewide and what information is most useful to provide. Officials are hoping a full-scale launch can happen in June.

The cost of making the records readily available through the app cost $2 million.

Physicians have to sign on for their patients to gain access, but Smith isn't concerned whether providers opt out.

"I'm confident providers will continue to see the value of approaches like this," he said.

The YourHealthNS app cost the province $10 million.

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