A First Nations solution for First Nations health care

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Cowichan Tribes of British Columbia and Mustimuhw Information Solutions on Tuesday announced a partnership with McKesson Canada’s RelayHealth to improve health care for members of the Cowichan Tribes First Nation.

The 18-month pilot project will help improve the health of 400 patients from the Cowichan Tribes by providing them with secure, personalized access to their own electronic health records and the ability to directly message their health care providers online.   The Cowichan Tribe is the  largest single First Nation Band in British Columbia.

This project – Closing the Circle of Care – honours the Cowichan Tribes’ indigenous teachings and approach to care by reinforcing the importance of empowerment and the need to work collectively for improved health and wellness. By encouraging citizens, families, the community and their health care providers to be collaborators in health care, each participant becomes an active part of the community’s health care team.

A Cowichan carving

“Enabling our citizens to be active participants in their circle of care is an important and necessary step as we improve health outcomes for Cowichan Tribes,” said Maureen Tommy, General Manager at Cowichan Tribes and President of Mustimuhw.

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“We will now be able to view all of our patients’ records – whether they are from the community health nurse, the primary care team, or a family physician in town – in a single file,” said Christina Nishimura, Primary Care Nurse Manager for Slhexun sun’ts’a clinic at Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre in Dunca, BC. “Not only does this let us better coordinate care for our patients, but by giving patients access to this comprehensive record, it also allows them to schedule their own appointments, view lab results and directly message their full array of care providers with any questions or concerns they may have – it’s as easy as email.”

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake, representing the Ministry of Health, and Michael Green, CEO, Canada Health Infoway were present at this announcement representing an investment from Canada Health Infoway, who helped make this breakthrough effort possible. Valerie Nicol, Executive Director of the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice, a collaborating partner for the project was also on hand for the announcement.

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Closing The Circle Of Care

“For the first time, patients are empowered to manage their own health,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “We are watching projects like Closing the Circle of Care with great interest and congratulate the Cowichan Tribes for their leadership in providing personal access to electronic health records.”

“Patients have a strong desire to be active in the management of their care, and having access to their own health information, with the ability to securely message their authorized providers, will go a long way to supporting them,” said Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.  “Infoway is proud to support this project, which is an example of what we expect to see for all Canadians in the future.”

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For more than 15 years, Cowichan Tribes has been a leader in designing approaches to health delivery and connectivity that reflect a First Nations philosophy of individual empowerment, including the use of the Mustimuhw community electronic medical record (cEMR). Together with RelayHealth this commitment will be taken even further.

“When we first met the Cowichan Tribes, we were inspired by their vision of a truly holistic, patient-centered approach to health care,” said George Attar, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology and Information Officer ofMcKesson Canada. “I’m proud that RelayHealth is helping us realize the next evolution of health care by making patients active members of their care team.”

“We look forward to sharing what we’ve accomplished with our First Nations partners across British Columbia,” said Mark Sommerfeld, CEO of Mustimuhw. “This is truly a First Nations solution for First Nations health care.” – CNW

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