Anna and Steve Sottile
Anna and Steve Sottile are both UHN Patient Partners. They say myUHN Patient Portal has helped them better understand their health information and improved communication with their care teams. (Photo: Anna and Steve Sottile)

October is Health Literacy and Caring Safely Month.

Health Literacy involves using many different skills to get, understand, communicate and use information to make good decisions about your health. It is one of the most important skills that patients and family members need to actively and safely take part in their care.

Anna and Steve Sottile, two UHN Patient Partners, are sharing how the myUHN Patient Portal has helped develop their health literacy skills and supported them in being partners in their care. 

How has myUHN helped you be an informed partner in your care?

Anna: myUHN is a wonderful tool that allows me to track my care and that of my spouse. We share access to each other's information, which has been useful not only for the purpose of appointments, but also more recently we have been very sensitive to hemoglobin levels to track specific incidents in Steve's care.

Steve: myUHN has been an excellent resource, simplifying appointment notifications and tracking all of my results.  The timely and accurate information allows me to be better prepared when meeting my healthcare team, while providing an infrastructure for historical views and trends. It has definitely given me full transparency and a better understanding of my care.

Has myUHN helped improve communication between you and your health care team?

Anna: The level of responsiveness seems higher via myUHN, so that a notification can now validate my understanding or give me cause for follow-up.  This, in turn, ensures clearer communication.  It just feels good to have more than just my memory to rely on about the last time I saw a doctor. I particularly like reading the doctor's notes to validate or clarify what I thought I heard.

Steve: myUHN has proved to be an invaluable tool, simplifying the capture and recall of my health data. This has fostered close and accurate communication between myself and the members of my care team.

What information or tips would you share with other UHN patients who are new to using the portal?

Anna: First and foremost – sign-up! Navigate its offerings and ask questions if something doesn't make sense. It is imperative that you feel like you are able to drive your own health care and that of those you love!

Steve: All new portal users should take the time and set up the calendar sync function. If needed, seek help and then familiarize yourself with the various features and formats – specifically the 'Results' section which provides options for graphical views and trends.

What is the most important thing about the portal that all UHN patients should know?

Anna: This is a tool that is evolving and it's important that you vocalize both good and not so good experiences.  If you are having a problem, chances are that someone else is too!​​

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