November 13th, 2019

Patient Access to OLIS via the SPARK Pathway

A limited cohort of patients now have direct real-time and secure access to their lab results in Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) from across the province. This was accomplished through the Ministry of Health’s SPARK initiative. These patients will be instructed to contact their ordering clinicians if they have questions or concerns regarding their lab results.

Ontarians want improved electronic access to their Personal Health Information (PHI). The objective of SPARK is to establish streamlined pathways to support the connection of consumer digital health applications to provincial health data assets. It ensures that the appropriate safeguards are in place to protect PHI through privacy and security risk assessments, an agreements framework, a Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)-compliant authority model, and conformance to eHealth Ontario’s technical specifications.

The ministry is working closely with two consumer applications that are affiliated with a Health Information Custodian, to develop and validate the SPARK pathway for OLIS:

  1. In August 2019, for the first time in the province of Ontario, the myUHN patient portal gave an initial test cohort of UHN patients and their delegates real-time, unfiltered access to the patient’s provincial lab results within OLIS. Approximately 500 users will have access this fall, as myUHN will go live with a larger cohort of early adopter patients and their delegates, prior to the full go-live with approximately 90,000 myUHN users.
  2. Later in the 2019/20 fiscal year, Medly, a prescribed congestive heart failure monitoring application, will also start enabling approximately 300 registered patients access to six of their results in OLIS.

These connections are a significant step forward in providing patients with digital access to their health information through a choice of patient access channels. It is expected that more consumer connections to provincial health data assets (PDHAs), including the Digital Health Drugs Repository (DHDR), will be enabled in future as the SPARK pathways are further refined.

For more information

SPARK is intended to help innovators of digital health applications to connect to PDHAs and flow patients’ health information into the hands of patients and/or their delegates safely and securely. SPARK is a collaborative partnership among the ministry, eHealth Ontario, MaRS Discovery District, and University Health Network (UHN). Please refer to SPARK website for further information on the SPARK Program and to access the Frequently Asked Questions