Media releases

Lawson, TELUS Health and Canada Health Infoway launch the Mental Health Engagement Network initiative to measure effectiveness of new technology in ongoing health management

October 12, 2012

London, ON – Lawson Health Research Institute today announced an innovative project that uses a smartphone and web application (app) specially developed to help people living with mental illness play a more active role in their recovery process.

The Mental Health Engagement Network (MHEN) research project, led by Lawson Health Research Institute’s Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, will assess the effectiveness of the app, called the Lawson SMART (Supportive Mental Assessment Rehabilitation and Treatment) record.  The tool leverages TELUS health space®, powered by Microsoft® Health Vault®  – a secure online consumer health platform, certified by Canada Health Infoway – that allows patients to collect, manage and share their health information.

Four hundred clients managing mood and psychotic disorders have enrolled in the two-year research project.  Each participant will receive an iPhone and a Lawson SMART Record.  According to Dr. Forchuk, this project represents a new way in which people can be empowered to take charge of their own health and wellness in partnership with their health care providers.

Common recovery strategies for clients with mood and psychotic disorders include self-assessment, goal-setting, medication monitoring and the promotion of client involvement. “Combining recovery approaches with technology has great potential to improve individual outcomes,” says Dr. Forchuk.  “We predict this will result in better management of their symptoms and recovery, reducing hospitalization and emergency visits.”

Clients will work with their case manager to develop a care plan (including a crisis plan) that can be accessed via their iPhone or the web.  In addition, clients will receive automatic prompts related to their plan. For example:

  • If the plan calls for mood monitoring the client will be prompted and results immediately shared with care providers;
  • Clients are prompted to input information regarding their medication, such as effectiveness and side effects, and these results are shared with their care providers.  As well, reminders for prescription renewal are provided;
  • If in a crisis situation, the client can access their crisis plan and receive specific contact information for help and their support team will be alerted.

Canada Health Infoway, the not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government to invest in electronic health record projects, invested $1.25 million in this initiative.

“Mobile devices have become ubiquitous and have the ability to keep people in touch in ways that would have been unimaginable not that long ago,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.  “Clients, providers, the health system – everyone wins when people have the tools they need to encourage wellness and quickly access support and care when needed.”

TELUS Health, working in close collaboration with its partners, has developed an innovative online tool that gives Canadians an intuitive and secure way to manage their personal health information. Working with TELUS’ technology partner Get Real Consulting, the Lawson SMART record is a specialized version of the TELUS Personal Health Record.

“TELUS is excited to be a part of this ground-breaking project. With 20 per cent of Canadians experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime and only one-third of those actually receiving mental health care, the need for specialized tools to facilitate access and care coordination, aid in the recovery process and improve outcomes, has never been more pressing,” said Paul Lepage, Senior Vice President, TELUS Health. “The Lawson SMART record application demonstrates the power of connecting clients with their care team ensuring critical health information is available over secure wireline and wireless broadband networks wherever and whenever they need it.”

About Lawson Research Institute

As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, and working in partnership with The University of Western Ontario, Lawson Health Research Institute is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world. www.lawsonresearch.com

About TELUS Health 

TELUS Health is a leader in telehomecare, electronic medical and health records, consumer health, benefits management and pharmacy management. TELUS Health gives health authorities, providers, physicians, patients and consumers the power to turn information into better health outcomes. For more information about TELUS Health, please visit telushealth.com

About Canada Health Infoway

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of information and communications technology projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.

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For more information, please contact:Julia Capaldi
Lawson Health Research Institute
519.685.8500 Ext. 75616
julia.capaldi@lawsonresearch.comDonna Ramirez
TELUS Health
416-320-9309
donna.ramirez@telus.comDan Strasbourg
Canada Health Infoway
416.595.3424
dstrasbourg@infoway-inforoute.ca