‘Patients will be very disappointed’: Halifax doctor responds to MyHealthNS cancellation

Just a few years ago, both the federal and provincial governments invested millions into MyHealthNS, an online portal that put Nova Scotia on the map as a leader in progressive, digital health care.

“Nova Scotia was one of the first provinces to take this step into piloting this and we showed that it was a remarkable success and patients would love it,” said Dr. Ajantha Jayabarathan, a primary care provider in Halifax.

Dr. AJ, as she’s known to her patients, was one of about 320 health-care providers that used MyHealthNS, which made Nova Scotia the first province in Canada to offer an online tool that gave patients access their health information and allowed them to communicate with their family doctor.

For time-strapped family doctors like Jayabarathan, it was a game-changer in alleviating appointment pressures and building patient capacity.

“We showed that doctors were available 20 per cent more for their patients and it meant that patients could connect with us digitally, we could send secure messages, we could send them their test results, all kinds of different documents from the hospital and it was a huge step forward,” she said.

The pilot program for MyHealthNS started in 2012. During a three-year implementation period, the federal government invested $10 million into the program and the province invested $3 million.

In 2016, the provincial rollout of the online digital health-care tool began.

Last August, the province announced that the company behind MyHealthNS wouldn’t be renewing its contract and that the program would be cancelled.

As of March 31, the online portal that saw former health minister Jane Philpott on-site for its Halifax launch in 2016 will be gone.

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