Merck Canada announced this month a deal with Mihealth to promote its PHR offering to Canadian doctors. According to Mihealth, which has an exclusive license to Diversinet's MobiSecure platform in Canada, its PHR data is validated by a physician once a year to ensure accuracy of the health information.
Mihealth's PHR is available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows smartphones. The software helps patients track medications, allergies, and chronic disorders information, but it has plans to add lab tests information soon. The Mihealth service is free for physicians while patients pay from $59 a year per person and up to $224 for a family of four. Mihealth pays physicians a small fee for their yearly validation.
In January, miHealth inked a $5 million deal with Diversinet to act as the secure mobile health services provider’s exclusive distributor in Canada. miHealth's PHR is built upon Diversinet's MobiSecure platform.
"Strengthening patient-doctor communications will improve the quality and quantity of information available," stated Dr Wendy Graham, president of Mihealth, in a press release. "The adoption of physician-validated PHRs is a particularly vital new tool to facilitate the care of the one in three Canadians living with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and lung disease."
Physician validation was stressed by Merck as a distinguishing feature for Mihealth compared to other PHRs. Dr Graham stated that "When patients use existing services to independently keep a PHR, the non-validated data may be seen as unreliable by health professionals, a major drawback. With Mihealth, physicians validate the information once a year, ensuring accuracy and credibility and making it useful to all health professionals."
It is not entirely clear what Merck gets out of the deal other than a new product it can offer to physicians for free, which could end up helping them make a little extra pocket change each year: "This is a new type of implication for Merck to be bringing to our health system, but no less important than a new medicine. It is another way for Merck to help Canadian healthcare providers give the best care to their patients as well as providing important efficiencies for our healthcare system," Merck's Canada's Vice President of Customer Innovation Christian Sauvageau stated in a press release. "We were motivated to get involved with Mihealth because it will assist health care practitioners in improving patient health outcomes."
Read the press release below.
PRESS RELEASE -- Merck Canada today announced an agreement with MiHealth Global Systems Inc. to promote to Canadian doctors a mobile patient health record (PHR) system that involves doctors in the validation of patient health information. Its high level of security, along with this validation, means the mihealth™ system provides accuracy and credibility, without compromising patient privacy, so the data can be useful to all health professionals as well as patients and their families.
The application offers secure two-way communication between doctor and patient, and will soon also include the results of lab tests. mihealth™ is bi-directionally encrypted which means that it has the ability to secure data as it is transmitted in both directions.
"Strengthening patient-doctor communications will improve the quality and quantity of information available" said Dr. Wendy Graham, President of MiHealth Global Systems Inc. and a leading advocate of primary care reform. "The mihealth™ mobile application has been designed by doctors to improve health system efficiency and improve patient outcomes. It will become an essential tool to manage all patients in the future."
Dr. Graham explained, "The adoption of physician-validated PHRs is a particularly vital new tool to facilitate the care of the one in three Canadians living with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and lung disease.1 These patients are often called upon to provide and/or repeat clinical information to multiple health providers, a process that is both time-consuming and open to error. A mobile, once a year doctor-validated electronic PHR through mihealth™ ensures instant access to accurate patient information by any healthcare provider - anywhere in the world. It also allows multiple family caregivers to have equal and accurate access to the patient's up-to-date medical information."
"A physician-validated PHR such as mihealth™ will encourage people to take charge of their own health, so this launch is an important step forward," Kevin Leonard, Associate Professor Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. "We want to put patients in the driver's seat in managing their health to allow them to monitor their own conditions better. In order to do this, we need health care providers to incorporate programs like mihealth™ into their practice."
mihealth™ will allow patients and their families to have access to health record information, such as medications, allergies, chronic disorders, etc., in a doctor-validated format that will be accepted and understood by all healthcare providers. This will ensure all of a patient's health professionals have better picture of the patient's medical situation and needs. This will save time and errors for patients and professionals in the giving of medical histories and will allow multiple family members to manage a loved one's care more easily.
mihealth™ will be particularly useful for Canadians with chronic diseases who require regular interaction with a variety of health professionals. People with chronic disease consume 70 to 80 per cent of healthcare resources and their greater engagement in their care can both help improve their health outcomes and moderate their use of healthcare resources2.
"Patients increasingly want to be engaged in their own healthcare and doctors are also keen to promote patient involvement, but until now have lacked an easy, physician-validated system to achieve just that," said Christian Sauvageau, Vice President, Customer Innovation at Merck Canada. "When patients use existing services to independently keep a PHR, the non-validated data may be seen as unreliable by health professionals, a major drawback. With mihealth™, physicians validate the information once a year, ensuring accuracy and credibility and making it useful to all health professionals. We are really excited to be involved in helping MiHealth Global Systems Inc. get their mihealth™ service better known by doctors and clinics as we believe it will be a great tool for patients and healthcare providers alike."
Implementation of the mihealth™ system starts with a doctor or group practice signing up at no cost to them and downloading the mihealth™ office application. At the patient's request, the doctor's office creates an account for the interested patient, who then can complete the registration process online at home, paying an annual fee - $59 per year per person or $224 for a family of four. Once enrolled, patients enter their medical information on the application. This information is then validated yearly by the doctor, who is paid a small fee for that important service.
Merck Canada brings to the promotion of this new service its long record of providing reliable health innovation to Canadians. "This is a new type of implication for Merck to be bringing to our health system, but no less important than a new medicine. It is another way for Merck to help Canadian healthcare providers give the best care to their patients as well as providing important efficiencies for our healthcare system," added Christian Sauvageau. "We were motivated to get involved with mihealth™ because it will assist health care practitioners in improving patient health outcomes."
Mihealth Global Systems Inc. (mihealth.com) is a Toronto-based Canadian company founded in 2009 with a co-location in Northern Ontario. Its founder, Dr. Wendy Graham, a long-time advocate of national healthcare reform, heads the company with eight employees who have a range of skills in business, IT, and healthcare.
mihealth™ is provided, furnished, supported and sold directly by Mihealth Global Systems Inc. Merck acts as agent for the promotion of the mihealth™ service to physicians and clinics in Canada
mihealth™ empowers patients with the information they need to take better control of their own health and wellness. This is accomplished by giving patients secure online access to their physician-validated medical records, and allowing two-way communication between themselves and their physician. Patients have the option to securely access mihealth's ™ services through their smartphone and tablets via its HealthPass application.
mihealth™ has received the Canada Health Infoway pre-implementation certification at the first level for privacy, security and interoperability requirements. The mihealth™ service will be rolled out across Ontario, Quebec, and Western Canada in the next three months. The mihealth™ service is priced at $59 for a year subscription with discounts for additional family members.
Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Merck is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines, consumer and animal health products. In Canada, Merck markets over 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products. Merck is a leader in a broad range of areas such as cardiology, infectious diseases, respiratory, vaccines, women's health and sun care, and is focused on expanding offerings in other areas, including virology, oncology and diabetes.
Merck is one of the top R&D investors in Canada, with an investment of $78.6 million in 2010. Merck has a large manufacturing facility in Québec dedicated to the annual production of some 35 million units of its various brands, including Claritin® and Aerius®. Based in Montréal, Québec, Merck employs over 1400 people across Canada. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.