Managing your health and medical records online is becoming a reality with the development of patient ‘portals’.

ManageMyHealth is one such system that allows people access to their health information wherever there is an internet connection. The programme is currently used by about 410,000 people around the country and can be accessed via desktop or a mobile app.

Medtech Global chief architect Sanjeewa Samaraweera says the portal also allows patients to communicate with their doctor virtually.

“The online patient portal gives patients the freedom to manage their health needs anytime, anywhere.”

Access to records and results

Through ManageMyHealth, patients can access lab results, immunisation records, allergies, prescriptions and medical records. It also provides online tools to improve their health, track their progress, and email their practice team.

Users could add their own ‘health indicators’, allowing them to record measurements and readings like blood glucose and blood pressure.

Samaraweera says users can set and keep track of health goals, such as weight loss, fitness, or quitting smoking, through the system. He says it allows patients and medical professionals to streamline existing practice procedures and therefore cut costs.

Medical records can be shared between the patient’s practice and other professionals such as after-hours care, pharmacy and emergency departments.

“It ensures patients receive the right information, in the right place, at the right time, in a format they understand and provides direct consistent and managed communication between the patient and their health professional.”

Enhanced patient safety

Samaraweera says the system leads to reduced medication errors and enhanced patient safety through the sharing of information. It can also be used for video consultations, with healthcare providers able to video call patients.

“Today we keep in touch with family and friends using video calls with programmes like Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp to stay in touch. Patient care is constantly evolving and the use of video consultations is growing in healthcare.”

He says people are already familiar with the technology and like the convenience of talking from home or work. “Video appointments also improve access to primary care for those who are homebound or can’t travel, like rest home residents.”

A calendar to keep track of appointments and recalls, a community forum and health news is also available within the portal.

Privacy paramount

Samaraweera says the company has taken privacy seriously. The entire infrastructure is hosted in a secure data centre in Auckland, with nothing hosted outside the country. The system fully complies with the New Zealand Health Information Privacy Code and the Privacy Act.

Extensive privacy impact assessments had been conducted, and when a user accesses the portal it displays data using a secure encrypted channel.

“This is the same as your internet banking,” says Samaraweera.

Data on the platform can only be accessed by patient consent and all access is automatically audited.

“The platform was designed from the ground up with privacy and security as the core foundation.”

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