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Personal health records

MUHC launches Personal Health Record for public use

MONTREAL – The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) announced that anyone with Internet access and a desire to manage his or her health and well-being can now subscribe to Unani.ca.

Co-developed with Quebec-owned Medical.MD, Unani.ca is a consumer-minded personal electronic health record (PEHR) that combines the expertise of a world-class academic health centre with that of award-winning information-technology developers. The launch of Unani.ca 1.1 comes on the heels of a successful beta test undertaken in July 2009.

“As one of the world’s foremost academic health centres, the McGill University Health Centre’s mission is to treat complex medical conditions and carry out research and teaching that will have a meaningful impact on people’s quality of life,” said the Hon. Arthur T. Porter (pictured), MUHC Director General and CEO.

“With Unani.ca, we bring a new dimension of support to the general population. Whether a person is healthy, managing a chronic condition such as diabetes or helping a family member make a positive lifestyle change, Unani.ca provides a user-friendly web-based platform where health and lifestyle information can be aggregated, tracked and shared.”

Unani 1.1 is easy to navigate, thanks to an interface that even the most novice of computer users would find straightforward, an integrated step-by-step tutorial, intuitive menus and shortcuts. Distinct from medical electronic health records being implemented by government or hospital medical records, Unani.ca is a lifestyle tool designed from the ground up with the consumer in mind.

“The MUHC’s vision and collaboration have been indispensable as we’ve developed and refined this unique product,” said Pierre Ducros, Chairman of the Advisory Board at Medical.MD. “We are proud to have had the support of world-class health experts to bring this first version of Unani.ca to the market, and look forward to a continued relationship as we add new and exciting features in the coming months.”

Unani.ca 1.1’s features include:

• Multilingual user interface allows subscribers to switch instantly between English and French.

• Medical data allows lists of health conditions, medications, allergies, intolerances, vaccinations, therapies, life-style choices and family history information to be compiled and cross-linked.

• Charting provides an at-a-glance view of a person’s vital signs over time.

• Document storage is a secure repository for any type of document, from medical imaging and lab results to a fact sheet.

• Fax allows subscribers to receive a document by facsimile directly to their account.

• Agenda offers an address book for contacts, a calendar to manage appointments and a journal for personal notes.

• Print allows subscribers to format data, medical or other, into a single document that can either be sent via e-mail or printed on paper.

“I believe that a more informed person is a healthier person,” said Dr. Jeffrey Barkun, Director of General Surgery and Chief Clinical Officer of Informatics Transition at the MUHC. “Historically, that information has come from sitting down with a physician, however, the times have changed. It’s important for individuals to also take a leadership role and Unani.ca offers them that opportunity.

“Rather than telling their physician what’s ailing them from memory, people can bring a digital snapshot of their health to the table and even make lifestyle changes before a physician’s intervention is required,” said Dr. Barkun. “That’s significant!”

In June 2008, the MUHC began collaborating with the consumer IT experts at Medical.MD on the state-of-the-art PEHR. MedforYou 1.0 was released in July 2009 for beta testing within the MUHC community.

Within ten days, nearly 400 participants had signed on and began using the system. Around the same time, TELUS Health Solutions started discussions to include the PEHR on TELUS health space, powered by Microsoft HealthVault, said to be the first pan-Canadian electronic platform devoted to managing consumer health.

“We applaud MUHC’s leadership in making consumer-centric healthcare a reality by providing a personal health record tool for their patients and constituents to use to manage their health and that of their family,” said Marc Filion, Chief Operating Officer and General Director, TELUS Health Solutions. “In the future, when Unani.ca is added to TELUS health space, consumers will benefit from an enhanced platform that will expand their ability to import and exchange medical information electronically, such as test results, with their healthcare provider, allowing them to take full advantage of the functionality to manage their health.”

Features planned for Unani.ca in 2010 include applications for wireless devices such as the iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry, other languages and a module designed to manage the specific health needs of women. “The MUHC has every reason to be proud of Unani.ca. Marrying high-tech sophistication with über-user-friendliness puts this personal electronic health record in a class of its own. Moreover, it allows the MUHC to extend its health education across the community, reaching youth and adults alike,” said Dr. Porter.

About the MUHC
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. Its partner hospitals are the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital. The goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge. www.muhc.ca

About Medical.MD
Medical.MD has developed the PEHR under the name MedforYou. The company sees advances in computer science and wireless technology as the foundation for the introduction of a higher quality of health documentation that is both more useful and reliably secure. Building expertise in leading edge software will transform the promise of personal internet electronic health records into reality. Our goals are to enable users to more easily maintain their health, support users in correctly following their treatment, improve communications between patients and physicians, and facilitate the understanding of symptoms, illness, treatment and recovery.

About TELUS Health Solutions
TELUS Health Solutions represents a unique set of technology, expertise and resources to help transform how information is used in the healthcare industry. TELUS Health Solutions has years of expertise in successfully implementing healthcare applications and information communication technology processes through industry leading solutions and consulting services to customers in Canada and around the world. It is backed by more than 1,500 TELUS Health Solutions team members including healthcare professionals. For more information, please visit telushealth.com.

Posted March 25, 2010

 

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