Managing a person’s medical appointments and information can be complicated, especially those of children with serious or chronic ailments. Researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) have developed an award-winning app called Opal which helps parents manage appointments, treatment plans, medications, clinical notes, lab test results and information about their child’s medical condition.
Karine Fournier has a young daughter with a serious illness which caused her kidneys to fail requiring a transplant. “Her dad and I were constantly repeating our daughter’s medical history to health providers,” said Fournier. “After the transplant, there were complications, and we had to keep track of everything. If she spiked a fever, we had to know what to do, including when to rush to the ER. It was a stressful year. I am happy the Children’s (Montreal Children’s Hospital) is rolling out Opal. It will be incredibly helpful for parents at the Children’s. I look forward to using it.”
The app can be used with a smartphone, tablet and computer and was designed to be easy to use and secure.
App offers multiple functions
“With Opal, parents can provide their child’s entire medical team including doctors at the Children’s, at other institutions, in the community, or at their child’s school with the most up-to-date information about their health status,” said Dr. John Kildea who leads the RI-MUHC’s Opal Health Informatics Group.
The group’s broader goal is to connect all patients in the province of Quebec with the Opal app to “make the healthcare experience less painful and to involve patients directly in research initiatives.” The app is already in use at the MUCH’s Cedars Cancer Centre.
The app was developed with the financial support of many donors, including a major corporate donor. So far, the Montreal Children’s Foundation has raised $1.57 million for Opal. It is available in both of Canada’s official language–English and French.