Digital patient portal from St. Joe’s is breaking down barriers to access mental health care

Hamilton, ON (December 2019) – St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is offering virtual visits for our patients, making access to mental health care services simpler, easier and more convenient.

Patients can encounter all kinds of barriers to accessing care. Sometimes, for patients with mental illness like depression or anxiety, simply having to physically leave your home and travel to the hospital for care can be difficult. MyDovetale is St. Joe’s secure patient portal that connects you to your care team through video conference—or a virtual visit—using the app on your smartphone or tablet, or online using your computer. You can connect from anywhere, including the comfort of your home.

Judy Vair, a patient in our Mood Disorders program, has already seen the benefits of using MyDovetale. Diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety while dealing with chronic pain, Judy needed to remove any possible barrier to her care.

“If my anxiety is really bad and I’m having problems just asking for a ride, I’m still going to get that care, knowing that I have the option of the virtual appointment,” says Judy, a former nurse living in Brantford.

New data from the Mood Disorders program shows the virtual visit option helps patients keep their appointments at a higher rate; 97 per cent of patients participated in their virtual visits, surpassing the 88 per cent of patients who were able to make their appointments in-person at the hospital.

“We’re adding options and I think having options is a great thing,” comments Judy’s psychiatrist, Dr. Zena Samaan. “The hospital’s still here and the clinic’s still here, but this is giving us another opportunity in case you can’t make it.”

MyDovetale also gives patients access to their health information, manage appointments, see test results, and message their care team – all in one place. This portal is already answering a recent call from the Ontario government to bring the patient experience into the 21st century.

A survey found that 88 per cent of St. Joe’s patients feel MyDovetale has allowed them to better self-manage their care. Some patients said they saved two to three hours of travel time and over $40 in travel expenses. They all agreed MyDovetale makes accessing care and services more convenient.

MyDovetale is available for patients in St. Joe’s Integrated Comprehensive Care program and nine clinics, including Mood Disorders, Kidney Transplant, and Firestone Ambulatory clinics. A soon-to-come hospital-wide roll out will make MyDovetale available to all St. Joe’s patients.

“St. Joe’s has a history of embracing the latest technology as part of developing new models of care,” says Tara Coxon, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at St. Joe’s. “In 2012 we developed Integrated Comprehensive Care (ICC), which included giving home care clinicians tablets to communicate with physicians back at the hospital. MyDovetale takes this concept even further by connecting patients with their health care teams and information through technology.”

With a virtual visit option to better access the care she needs, Judy plans to use MyDovetale for as long as she’s receiving treatment, and is advocating for other patients at St. Joe’s to do the same.

“I think it ensures that you will now have care no matter what.”

Visit stjoes.ca/mydovetale to learn more about St. Joe’s secure online patient portal.

Quick Facts

  • MyDovetale is St. Joe’s secure online portal for patients; they can access their health information, manage appointments, see test results, have virtual visits, message their care team, such as their nurses, doctors and social worker – all in one place.
  • In St. Joe’s Mood Disorders program, data shows the virtual visit option helps patients keep appointments at a higher rate; 97 per cent of patients participated in their virtual visits, surpassing the 88 per cent of patients who attended appointments in-person at the hospital.
  • To date, 1,000 patients have access to virtual care through MyDovetale.
  • Since January 2019, over 500 video visits have been done through MyDovetale.
  • 88 per cent of patients said MyDovetale has allowed them to better self-manage their care. Some patients said they saved two to three hours of travel time and over $40 in travel expenses.
  • 84 per cent of Canadians are interested in accessing their health information from one platform, a poll from the Canadian Medical Association found.
  • St. Joe’s and the Ontario Telemedicine Network partnered to enable video visits on MyDovetale.
  • Home video visits are growing in Ontario. Through partnerships between health care providers and OTN, 565 providers conducted 11,000 home video visits in 2017-2018.

e-Press Kit

  • Google drive link: E-press kit MyDovetale SJHH HERE
  • Photos: Raw photos of Judy and her doctor.
  • Video: See Judy speak about how MyDovetale is improving her mental health care. YouTube link also available HERE.

Media Contact
Carolyn LoConte
Public Affairs Specialist | St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
T: 905.522.1155 ext. 32178 | C: 905.870.3585 | E: cloconte@stjoes.ca

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