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Access to health information makes patient 'feel powerful'

November 14, 2019

Edmonton woman credits MyAHS Connect for possibly saving her life

Lorraine Wigston feels in control of her health.

She credits MyAHS Connect.

“It makes me feel powerful,” says the 58-year-old the Edmonton woman about the app that enables her to contact her healthcare teams and see results of her various medical exams as soon as they’re available. MyAHS Connect, formerly known as MyChart, is part of Alberta Health Services’ Connect Care project.

MyAHS Connect is currently available to patients at Edmonton’s Walter C. Mackenzie campus, the East Edmonton Health Clinic, and Edmonton-area outpatient clinics. It is expected to be available to all Albertans in late 2022.

“It may have saved my life,” she says of MyAHS Connect. “I don’t really know because I don’t want to rewind the tape.”

Three years ago, Wigston -- a part-time fitness instructor -- had cancer surgery and radiation treatment to remove a cancerous tumour in her neck. She would later be diagnosed with blood disorder and an autoimmune disease, all of which would require regular blood tests and monitoring. She opted to see her test results through the MyAHS Connect app on her mobile phone.

“I was able to follow my own progress, see what my results are, see what my norms were, so I knew when things were not right,” Wigston says.

Last year, something didn’t look right.

When results arrived from her latest blood test, Wigston noticed her blood platelets were “dangerously low -- lower than they had ever been. So I sort of freaked out a bit.

“I knew that I had to act. I knew that I couldn’t hesitate because people can die from this disease and, obviously, I don’t want to die. I took matters into my own hands…. I said to my husband, ‘We have to go to the hospital.’

“So it had huge impact on me to have that access.”

Wigston says she can’t imagine managing her health conditions without MyAHS Connect.

“Having that access (to her health information) makes me feel like I have control,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to have this knowledge. I want to have access to my medical information. I want to know what’s in my record.”