This report provides a summary of patient portals across Canada, with a focus on individuals’ access to their medical imaging results. The report also provides an overview of some considerations related to sharing medical imaging results when implementing patient portals.
Patient portals allow users to access, manage, and share their health information online.Patient portals are available in 6 provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec.
Patient portals in Canada are implemented at the provincial, regional, or clinic level of the health care system, and vary in the health data and features that are shared with users.
Medical imaging reports are shared on portals in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan and Alberta, reports are available immediately, whereas Quebec has a 30-day embargo period. Ontario has an intention to enable patient portals to share medical images from provincial diagnostic imaging repositories in the future.
A tailored approach may be considered when timing the release of medical imaging results due to concerns related to patient anxiety, especially for individuals waiting for diagnostic results of potentially life-threatening or serious conditions.
Radiologists can use lay language in their reports and provide users with reliable sources of information to increase understanding of complex results. They may develop or take advantage of existing patient-friendly templates for sharing results on portals.