Sunnybrook’s MyChart shows benefits of Web-based healthcare

It’s 2:00 AM and your four-year-old son is crying. You check his temperature to confirm that he has a fever. You’re not ready to hop into your car and drive to the emergency room but you want to take him to the doctor first thing in the morning.

In this situation, you’d reduce stress and perhaps treat yourself to a couple hours of sleep if you could simply schedule an appointment online and tell your doctor’s office why you need it. Doing this would also help you bypass your doctor’s office voicemail and filling out a questionnaire on a clipboard the next day as well as give you the chance to notify your team at work that you’ll be coming in late.

If you’re a patient at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center’s Family Practice in Toronto, you’d have these options at your disposal. This week, Sunnybrook added scheduling and assessment capabilities to MyChart, its personal health record (PHR) system by integrating it with the hospital’s electronic patient record (EPR) system. Sunnybrook developed MyChart in-house and launched it in February 2006, making it available to over 1.4 million patient records in the hospital’s EPR system.

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Family Practice patients using MyChart can now schedule appointments from the convenience of their homes – or anywhere – and at any time. They can also fill out an assessment questionnaire to help their doctor’s office better prepare for their visit. These MyChart upgrades are expected to enhance the medical experience of over 8,800 Sunnybrook’s Family Practice patients.

“The benefits go beyond providing a complete patient profile through a single platform. We expect the online service will decrease a clinician’s administrative workload and shorten the time it takes for a patient to book an appointment and complete an assessment,” said Sarina Cheng, Director, Information and Telecommunication Services & eHealth Strategies of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.


Eric Gombrich is the general manager of health systems at NexJ.
Eric Gombrich is the general manager of health systems at NexJ.

NexJ Systems Inc., Toronto-based provider of cloud-based software, is the developer of the scheduling and assessment “apps” that made this integration possible. These two apps are just two of the offerings available on NexJ’s Connected Wellness Platform (CWP), a secure and HIPPA-compliant cloud-based solution. Sunnybrook is the first hospital to use these apps.

NexJ developed the apps in-house and collaboratively worked with Sunnybrook and Canada Health Infoway to seamlessly integrate them into MyChart. Before the full deployment of the apps this week, the apps were were tested in a limited rollout in December 2012.

Sunnybrook will be providing NexJ with analytical data to assess the effectiveness of its apps. “At NexJ, we work very diligently to test our solutions and to assess the impact they’re having on economics, quality of care , efficiency of care delivery, and patient satisfaction. We establish research studies with institutions throughout North America and worldwide,” said Eric Gomrich, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Health Solutions at NexJ.

Two major discussion topics in digital health are interoperability and connected wellness. Through its work with Sunnybrook, NexJ demonstrated that interoperability is possible even for systems that were developed separately.

NexJ has an impressive portfolio of solutions that is sure to feed its growing healthcare vertical – as well as turn up the knob on healthcare decentralization and patient empowerment. “We are hopeful that Sunnybrook will start to use more applications running on NexJ’s CWP to continue to expand the capabilities of MyChart,” Gombrich said.

NexJ’s Transitional Care Management app allows healthcare providers to create a patient-centric care plans that patients can access from their computers and mobile devices. NexJ Health Coaching app allows patients to capture biometric data on predominantly mobile devices. Other capabilities of NexJ’s CWP are secure messaging and electronic healthcare records (EHR).

Related Story: NexJ working with Harvard on electronic medical records

NexJ’s CWP is like a LinkedIn for healthcare that securely stores your health information in the cloud. You can create your profile and a network or “circle of care,” as Gombrich put it, comprised of trusted health providers and advocates and access your health information anywhere, anytime.

For example, a woman with diabetes can track her blood glucose and weight and add a diabetic nurse and a health coach to her network. Her health coach can monitor her progress and provide guidance through a series of dashboards running on NexJ’s CWP.

NexJ has enterprise solutions for three industry verticals: finance and wealth management, insurance, and healthcare. But healthcare is its fastest growing sector today. “We’re seeing a rapid expansion of all the work we’re doing in healthcare,” Gomrich said.

“Our mission at NexJ for our healthcare solutions is to create a seismic shift in healthcare by empowering individuals to become more responsible for their wellness and healthcare through education and support,” Gomrich said.

To learn about the background of NexJ Systems Inc. and to learn about the personal story of its founder, Bill Tatham, watch his TEDxWaterloo talk.

Maria Karpenko
Maria Karpenko
Maria Karpenko is the Editor-in-Chief of Lace Express, an international speciality magazine. Maria holds a Master of Liberal Arts in Journalism from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Waterloo. Maria is passionate about entrepreneurship at the intersection of healthcare and technology. For a portfolio of Maria’s work, please visit her website:

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