What is MyOSCAR

What is MyOSCAR?

Imagine having all of your health information available from your computer, smartphone or anywhere with internet access! MyOSCAR, an electronic Personal Health Record (PHR), makes this possible giving YOU total control over your own health information.

If you are like many people, your health information is scattered across many different providers and facilities. MyOSCAR puts everything in one place, and you decide which information to share, when to share it, and with whom.

MyOSCAR isn’t just a health information storage tool. It is a connected health hub that enables you to be as involved as you wish to be in influencing your own health. Through MyOSCAR, you can access proven health management tools that help you track and see trends in such things as blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and monitor the side effects and effectiveness of your medications.

Health Information
Customize and manage your health information.
Upload and share important medical documents
with your health care providers.

Secure Messaging
Securely and easily message your health care
provider, family or friends with non-urgent
questions.

Online appointment booking *
Book appointments with your clinic online at
your convenience

Health Management Tools
Keep track of important personal health-related
information such as medications and
supplements, medical conditions, test results,
allergies and past operations. Have access to
new and emerging, interactive health tools.

 *currently only available for patients of Stonechurch Family Health Centre (SFHC) or McMaster Family Practice (MFP)

Concept

Your Personally Controlled Health Record

MyOSCAR is an online version of your health record that belongs to you alone. Essentially the opposite of the current approach to medical records, MyOSCAR is owned and controlled by you, and can only be accessed by those to whom you grant permission. The following concepts are central to MyOSCAR’s vision:

Personal Control

  • MyOSCAR is an actual medical record that patients control and own, not a portal. (Portals, often provided by health care institutions, are windows through which patients can only view a portion of their health data stored at that institution.)
  • Patients control what information is added and modified, which increases their involvement in their health care. They also decide who else can view or change their record.
  • By giving patients control over their medical record, we hope to empower patients to take control of their own health and well-being.

Collaboration

  • With MyOSCAR, information and records from many sources can be stored in one place, allowing the patient and the physician to have access to data that is complete and up-to-date.
  • As MyOSCAR use grows, cooperation between fragmented services (clinics, specialists, pharmacists, hospitals) will increase. Consistency of health information among services will be maintained.

Accessibility

  • An online medical record means that each patient’s health information is at their fingertips twenty-four hours a day, provided they have access to a computer and the Internet.

Security

  • As with traditional medical records, privacy is essential. MyOSCAR’s multi-level security model provides strong data security. Each record is encrypted, protecting against unauthorized access to servers or backup medium.
  • Information and messages can only be accessed by MyOSCAR users, who must be authenticated by user name and password.
  • Patients have complete control over who has permission to view their record as well as what level of authorization each user has.

Open Source (see http://opensource.org)

  • Adapted from the open source Indivo project from MIT/Harvard, source code for MyOSCAR is open and freely available to all developers.
  • This enables MyOSCAR to be customized locally for specific clinics, or adapted to be interoperable with other vendor products.

The image below shows how MyOSCAR interacts with the health care system.

 

History

IndivoHealth

The technology behind MyOSCAR is based on the Indivo project from the Harvard-MIT Children’s Hospital Informatics program. The origins of this project are found in the team’s 1994 publication (the Guardian Angel Manifesto), in which it was proposed that health information software move away from complete control by doctors and hospitals and focus more on the individual. The Manifesto argued that because current health information systems were “built for the convenience of health care providers,” the patient’s records tended to be fragmented, and were sometimes incomplete, incorrect, or inaccessible. The vision was to develop software that would help track, manage, and interpret the patient’s health history.These concepts evolved over the next decade, as did the innovative software that was developed as a result. In 1998, the team began developing portals, or programs allowing patients to view portions of their electronic medical record. Then, in 2001, the focus shifted to software that enabled patient control. Originally called PING, IndivoHealth is the world’s first personally controlled record system, a free, open source application built to public standards.The principles that guide development of patient controlled records were written in a 2001 BMJ paper:
  • Electronic medical record systems should be designed so that they can exchange all their stored data according to public standards
  • Giving patients control over permissions to view their record (as well as creation, collation, annotation, modification, dissemination, use, and deletion of the record) is key to ensuring patients’ access to their own medical information while protecting their privacy
  • Many existing electronic medical record systems fragment medical records by adopting incompatible means of acquiring, processing, storing, and communicating data
  • Record systems should be able to accept data (historical, radiological, laboratory, etc) from multiple sources including physician’s offices, hospital computer systems, laboratories, and patients’ personal computers
  • Consumers are managing bank accounts, investments, and purchases online, and many turn to the web for gathering information about medical conditions. They expect this level of control to be extended to online medical portfolios.
The architecture that achieves this vision was described in a 2004 JAMIA paper.

MyOSCAR

In 2002, the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada launched OSCAR (Open Source Clinical Applications & Resources), an open source software project designed for the delivery of evidence-based resources and decision support at the point of care for both patients and providers. Applications included programs for office automation, decision support tools, and an electronic patient record. Among other things, OSCAR is a electronic medical record system that enables clinics to move away from paper-based records.

At around the same time, the OSCAR team began to develop OSCAR Citizens, a personal health record project. In the process, they learned of the open source Indivo project and decided to join the Indivo team. During the last two to three years MyOSCAR was developed. Also a free, open source application, MyOSCAR extends the capabilities of Indivo to operate seamlessly with OSCAR. MyOSCAR was launched at two Hamilton clinics in the summer and fall of 2007.