I became an ardent fan of health IT earlier this year. I believe a routine mammogram saved my life. With no family history of cancer, I was shocked when I was told that the radiologist saw something on the mammogram. I felt like I was hit by a bus. I couldn't feel any lump. It was really small. I finally really understood all the messages about early detection. Early detection using health technology that is always getting better saves lives.
I was referred to the Princess Margaret Hospital where I received excellent care and advice. The surgeon followed the latest procedures and advances in cancer surgery. The radiation and medical oncologists were up to speed on the latest research and best practices. I didn't ever feel that they were doing things TO me. They were doing things WITH me. As a patient, I never felt so engaged in my own care.
The Princess Margaret has a wonderful patient portal and I signed up. This was truly accessible health IT that was patient-friendly. I could see my lab reports, diagnosis report after the lump was removed, keep track of my appointments and get more information. If only I could merge all that information into what my family doctor has about me! Now that would be powerful! It would take the mystery out of what's in my file. This is as it should be and we are nearly there with all the progress we're making leveraging health care technology.