Patients to have greater access to services, control over personal data

A digital identity service has just streamlined the process for local residents to access secure health information online.

Built on the Niagara Health System’s mobile app technology launched in 2019, called Navigator, NHS has joined Southlake Regional Health Centre, North York General Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare-Hamilton, and their technology partners, IDENTOS and SecureKey Technologies, in the introduction of “Ontario trusted account,” a service that allows patients to prove their identity online, just as they would in person using their Ontario Health Card or Ontario Driver’s License.

Patients in Ontario are currently served by an array of digital tools and online health services which require them to use multiple login usernames and passwords to access these services, each with different levels of privacy and security standards.

Offering a solution to these challenges, the Ontario trusted account allows patients to access health-related services without having to log in and out each time, while providing them with control over the information they choose to share and with whom they share it.

Encrypted data allows a patient to seamlessly and securely access digital health services, or their own personal health information (PHI). The app provides such information as hospital emergency department wait times, and hospital COVID-19 resources, including test results, and allows patients to provide feedback about their care experience.

The March 2021 release of the Ontario trusted account is available to patients of Niagara Health, and in the pilot phase, a subset of patients at Niagara Health’s Niagara Falls site will be able to securely check in and confirm ultrasound appointments.

As the Ontario trusted account evolves in the future, it will deliver an expanded number of features, and the Ontario Ministry of Health will monitor and evaluate the initiative for potential expansion beyond the initial four hospitals.

In a press release, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said, “The Ontario trusted account is an example of how made-in-Ontario innovations can enhance the patient experience and support better, connected patient care.”

Lynn Guerriero, President and Interim CEO of Niagara Health, said, “We are excited to be leading this initiative, which will empower patients by giving them increased control over their personal health information and access to virtual care. Once fully implemented, the Ontario trusted account will create a more connected health system in which patients have one application to access their information from a range of providers, including hospitals, family doctors and other community providers.”

For more information on the Ontario trusted account, visit http://mytrustedaccount.ca.

The Niagara Health Navigator app, with updated features related to COVID-19, may be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play.