Personal Health Information - Statement of Principles


IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health is an Alberta-based group who strive to enable and mobilize citizens’ ability to influence and become valued partners in improving health care experiences and outcomes for all. Greg's Wings Projects and IMAGINE Citizens have partnered to develop a Statement of Principles for Personal Health Information.  The Cambridge Dictionary defines a statement of principles as - a statement in which a person or organization describes their beliefs and intentions.  The Statement is intended to help guide us and to be used as a reference to keep us on the path towards better care.  The expectation isn't that these principles are fully met now or by any specific timeframe; the expectation is that going forward our healthcare system will continuously work towards a future state where these principles are met and that we do not contradict or compromise these principles along the way. 

Importance of access to information

"Information is the currency of care." - Dr. Ewan Affleck

Decisions can't (or shouldn't) be made without information. Safe care depends on it. Yet accessing all of our healthcare information is still a significant challenge across the country.

In the last several years there has been a lot of discussion about patient-centred care, patient empowerment, patient engagement, patient-first strategies etc. but how can any of these concepts be true if information is held back from patients?

Having access to information not only supports decision making it shifts the power balance towards the patient and their family or loved ones and caregivers.

The OpenNotes Movement describes the many positive clinical impacts that occur when patients have access to their notes:

  • improved patient understanding of their health and medical conditions
  • patients recall their care plan more accurately
  • patients are better prepared for visits
  • patients feel more in control of their care
  • patients take better care of themselves
  • patients take their medications as prescribed more frequently
  • patients have more successful conversations and stronger relationships with their doctors
  • patients catch errors which leads to improved safety

Sharing information

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. " - George Bernard Shaw

Poor communication (exchange of information) is often cited as a contributing factor when harm occurs in healthcare. The existence of information and/or being able to see our information isn't the only issue - how it is shared is critically important as well.

We strongly believe that we need a foundation and culture of teamwork in healthcare. We can't expect individuals (in any position) to always make the right decision, but we do believe that when we work together effectively, and truly see our role as a contributing member of a patient's care team, patient safety, experience and outcomes can be improved.  

Digital Health Week Tweet chat

This week is Digital Health Week and on Wednesday, November 18 we will be participating in the #myInfomyHealth tweet chat The Tweet Chat will be an opportunity to dig a bit deeper, share ideas and provide feedback on our Statement of Principles.  Join us at 7 pm mountain by following the hashtag #myInfomyHealth.

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