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Scott Overholt and Joy Richards
UHN Patient Partner Scott Overholt calls myUHN “a game changer” while Dr. Joy Richards, UHN’s Vice President of Patient Experience & Chief Health Professions, says it illustrates our Primary Value, which is “the needs of patients come first.” (Photos: Courtesy Scott Overholt, UHN)

Three years ago, myUHN Patient Portal was launched with the goal of giving patients more access to their health information. Today, as that anniversary – Jan. 30, 2017 – is marked at an event at Toronto General Hospital, there can be no question it was an idea whose time had come.

Earlier this week, myUHN reached the milestone of 100,000 patient enrolments.

"myUHN has been a game changer," says Scott Overholt, a UHN Patient Partner who was involved in the project from the earliest stages of development. "Having access to my medical data has given me the confidence to embrace and take control of my medical journey."

The story of Zoe Levitt, also a UHN Patient Partner, further illustrates the point of the importance to patients of being able to get real-time results to help catch safety events. Watch Zoe tell her story

Dr. Joy Richards, UHN's Vice President of Patient Experience & Chief Health Professions, says myUHN has been "an incredible journey" that brings UHN values and Patient Declaration Values to life.

"Our primary value is the needs of patients come first," she says.

"Our patients told us they wanted access to their own personal health information so they could make better and more informed decisions in their care, so the uptake is not at all surprising."

David Wiljer, Executive Director of Education and Patient Experience for UHN Digital, calls the evolution of myUHN "truly a team effort from across the organization, including an extraordinary partnership with our patients in guiding all aspects of the development and implementation of the portal."

'Truly committed and passionate members of the team'

Scott felt he was given "a great opportunity" when he was asked to join in the development of what would become myUHN. From the earliest stages, and throughout the whole process, the Digital team had a genuine interest in learning what patients wanted and needed in the portal.

When the portal was expanded across UHN three years ago today, Scott says he was initially surprised by the high adoption rate, though he now admits, "in hindsight, I should not have been.

"Patients have been looking for a solution to access their medical data for a long time," says Scott, who was involved in the initial design of myUHN, numerous testing sessions, the "go live" prototype, final release and upgrades. "I think what super charged the adoption rate was the buy-in by the clinic staff.

"They went out of their way to promote the portal and sign up patients."

Joy pays tribute to every one of the "truly committed and passionate members of the team" who have been involved in the continued growth and success of myUHN, including its support staff, which is led by Laura Williams, UHN's Director of Patient Engagement, and Vas Bakas, Manager myUHN Patient Portal.

"The voices of our UHN patients continue to drive the evolution of myUHN portal," Joy says, pointing a recent survey of users which saw more than 90 per cent of the 19,000 respondents felt more prepared for their appointments and have better communication with the healthcare team.

Joy adds "the engagement of our staff and physicians are also important to our learning about the best ways to leverage myUHN."

The myUHN staff survey is currently open. These results, along with the voices of our patients and their families will help guide future portal development and decisions.

Drop by Thursday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for coffee and cake to celebrate myUHN's anniversary. The event is happening at Toronto General, First Floor – Munk Building at the Peter and Melanie Munk Patient and Family Learning Centre and Library. 

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