Building a Homegrown Citizen Health Portal for First Nations

Learn how Cowichan Tribes was able to build a next generation electronic medical records system designed for their needs in partnership with ClearConcepts, ThinkOn, and Veeam.

" Some of the biggest threats to electronic medical records are fire, natural disaster and ransomware, but we’re confident in our ability to restore data almost instantly. Health care delivery can continue with little or no interruption."

-Phil Proctor
Managing Director, Clear Concepts

The Business Challenge

Cowichan Tribe Logo

Nuts’amaat Sqwaluwun means working together with one heart and one mind. That’s what the Cowichan Tribes had in mind when they created a community electronic medical record (cEMR) system called Mustimuhw. It’s pronounced Moose tee Mook, and it means all of the people. Today Mustimuhw is used by First Nations across Canada, and it’s transforming health care delivery.

Mustimuhw is similar to most EMRs: It converts paper medical records to digital records, giving health care professionals quick access to patient information so they can provide more coordinated, efficient care.

Mustimuhw is also different from EMRs: It’s designed by First Nations for First Nations, which means it honours their indigenous teachings and approach to health care. It also aligns with their principals of ownership, control, access and possession of cultural knowledge and data. And, Mustimuhw is designed specifically for First Nations’ health centres.

Health centres provide every aspect of care for the communities they serve, and they’re often the only source of care. They’re located on First Nation properties, which are in remote parts of the country, putting them hours away from the nearest town and making them often unreachable in winter.

For these reasons, doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists and specialists rotate shifts at health centres, and that’s why Mustimuhw is so important. Whoever is on call must have immediate access to community members’ cEMRs, so care can be delivered quickly and accurately.

The challenge is making sure Mustimuhw is always available. Another challenge is maintaining compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which governs how organizations collect, use and disclose personal information. Without compliance, First Nations are subject to hefty fines.

Companies in focus in Case Study

The Veeam Solution

Veeam, Clear Concepts and ThinkOn combine forces to ensure Mustimuhw stays available and compliant with PIPEDA.

“We’re proud to work alongside Veeam and ThinkOn to support and protect Mustimuhw because it improves health outcomes for First Nations,” said Phil Proctor, Managing Partner at Clear Concepts, a leading IT managed services and solutions provider. “Some of the biggest threats to electronic medical records are fire, natural disaster and ransomware, but we’re confident in our ability to restore data almost instantly. Health care delivery can continue with little or no interruption.”

One of the unique aspects of Mustimuhw is its ability to track generations of medical information. If a family’s medical history includes asthma or diabetes, doctors can be more proactive with testing and treatment. “Generations of health histories are priceless,” Proctor said. “Understanding the chances of developing or passing on a hereditary disease gives people insights into their health so they can protect themselves and their families. This is another reason we’re proud to support Mustimuhw.”

Glenn Kemp, Managing Director at Clear Concepts, said Mustimuhw keeps on giving.“

When First Nations go digital and deploy Mustimuhw, they’re in a much better position to recruit more medical professionals to work in their health centres,” Kemp explained. “Once again, Mustimuhw helps them overcome the barriers of remoteness and isolation to expand health care delivery.”Veeam, Clear Concepts and ThinkOn protect Mustimuhw. Here’s how:

Mustimuhw is backed up and replicated by Veeam, either by First Nations or by Clear Concepts on behalf of First Nations. Veeam encrypts its backups and replicas to ThinkOn’s cloud to ensure the security of the data, and so clear concept can restore the data quickly when its needed most.“

We chose Veeam because it’s the best availability solution on the market,” Kemp said. “We partnered with ThinkOn for cloud services because their security is top notch, their support is exceptional and their pricing is on point. Compass—their partner portal—helps us stay nimble and agile so we can meet clients’ needs quickly.”

Ken Manuja, Inside Sales and Marketing Lead at ThinkOn, said Compass gives Clear Concepts complete visibility into the status of First Nations’ clouds, among other things.“

They can provision additional storage instantly if the need arises, and they can onboard new First Nations quickly,” Manuja said. “Compass contributes to the goal we all share: Keep Mustimuhw available and compliant.”

The Results

Improves health and wellness outcomes for First Nations
Veeam, Clear Concepts and ThinkOn work together to protect First Nations’ medical data, keeping it available so health care professionals can diagnose and treat patients efficiently and effectively.

Preserves generations of medical data for future diagnoses
When health care providers know the role heredity plays in family members’ health, they can proactively test and treat them to improve the quality of their lives.

Boosts recruitment efforts for more health care professionals
Staff resources are limited at health centres. Not only does Mustimuhw promote greater efficiency among staff, it also put First Nations in a much better position to recruit additional health care providers.

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