Ontario Shores develops new mental health app

WHITBY, ONT. – Patients at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences will become more active participants in their own healthcare through the use of a new app developed with a partner company, Waterloo, Ont.-based Mozzaz Corp.

The app, which runs on tablets and smartphones, has been integrated with the hospital’s Meditech electronic health record solution, so that patients can help update their own records.

“Along with the ability to enter scheduled self-assessment forms and access reminders for medications, patients can access the Ontario Shores patient portal, tip sheets, assessment tools and other resources in one location,” said Karim Mamdani, president and CEO at Ontario Shores.

“It’s completely integrated with the Ontario Shores electronic medical record, meaning patients are contributing directly to their own records.”

The app has the ability to connect to wearables and other devices, so that data could be automatically upload information into the patient’s electronic chart.

“Control of healthcare is rightfully shifting from the provider to patients,” said Mamdani. “At Ontario Shores, we like to tell patients that they are the experts in their own care.”

So the app lets patients check on information in their own charts, such as lab and test results, appointments, medication lists, progress reports and clinical histories.

And they can use Mozzaz to interact with their care teams in-between appointments through their mobile devices.

It’s all part of the movement to empower patients, who tend to do much better when they have ready access to their own clinical information and feel in charge of their care.

“The goal is to encourage patients to take an active role in their treatment plans and in their individual care,” said Rini Gahir, co-founder and chief business development officer at Mozzaz.

For clinicians, use of the app is expected to be a big time-saver, as they will be able to quickly review the information that has been uploaded by patients instead of laboriously asking question after question during encounters.

“It helps eliminate manual entry for the clinician, which helps to increase clinician productivity and efficiency,” said Gahir.

It will save time and trouble for patients, too, as they won’t have to repeat the same information when seeing different clinicians.

Gahir noted that about 60 patients in four different groups are already using the app at Ontario Shores. The groups are: eating disorders, transitional-aged youth, geriatrics and neuropsychiatry.

“They all have very different kinds of care plans,” said Gahir. He expects the numbers of patients and groups to steadily increase.

The use of the app so far is just the tip of the iceberg, he said, as in the future many new and different devices may be connected to the system. That will provide care teams with even more information.

“We believe that information collected in this way can help with interventions,” Gahir suggested, “leading to greater safety, stability and better health.”

Partners at the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto will be evaluating the project to determine the effectiveness of the solution.

For its part, Mozzaz works with over 40 different healthcare organizations in Canada and the United States. In the U.S., the company is also providing solutions in areas such as autism, suicide prevention and family and child services.

Ontario Shores has been a leader in the application of technology to patient care. It was the first hospital in Canada to achieve the HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7 certification, and the first mental health hospital in the world to reach this level.

Recently, it has been working with the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Lakeridge Health and Women’s College Hospital on a solution called Big White Wall. BWW provides online community support, 24 hours a day, for people feeling anxious or depressed, or having trouble coping with other mental health-related issues.

Mamdani said that, “Thinking and doing differently is not easy – in healthcare, we can often feel grounded by history and traditional thinking. However, innovation and technology are changing the world. And the way we deliver mental health is changing along with it.”

Written by Editor

1 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    May 02, 2017

    Great idea.
    Sure the are some concerns, mostly about clients’ input of clinically important information that may not be noted by the team, and some fear that this program may replace a real communication. Yet, the client’s or SDM’s ability to access health record 24/7 (assuming this what this program allows), from my experience, it is a great step towards better quality of care.
    Good luck!


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