MUSTIMUHW: “all of the people”
Mustimuhw is a Coast Salish word meaning “all of the people”. It was selected by Cowichan Tribes Elders as the name for the community electronic medical record (cEMR). The teaching of “Nuts’amaat Squaluwun (One Heart, One Mind) has guided the development of the Mustimuhw cEMR.
Hear the pronunciation of “Mustimuhw”
Our story is one of local community-based innovation leading to a successful Nation-based business supporting organizations across the country.
Cowichan Tribes, the largest First Nation in British Columbia, had adopted a progressive strategy of increased self-determination and self-governance through assuming delegated responsibilities in the areas of Health, Children and Families, Education, Housing and Social Development. In the early 1990’s the need for efficient clinical electronic documentation tools to support their increasingly complex range of evolving health services was identified as a critical priority.
Key Health Centre Leadership by two managing nurses, Heather Payne and Judith Gohn, advanced the development of custom software designed specifically to support the unique needs of the many health centre programs and services that the Health Centre was responsible for providing. Heather and Judith worked together with a lead developer, Bill Aumen, and a Business Analyst/Trainer, Tempest Deptuch, to evolve the software solution. Many, many hours were spent over a period of years, with the various health providers and staff to design the solution to meet the unique requirements of their Health Centre.
Cowichan Elders chose the name of the solution to be “Mustimuhw” – which is the Hul’q’umi’num’ term meaning “all of the people” or “all my relations”. Mustimuhw was seen as a tool to bring together all the people, both health staff and community members, to work together to collectively improve the health of all community members. Nuts’amat Shqwaluwun means “Working together with one heart and one mind” and it is this traditional value that is at the centre of Mustimuhw Information Solutions.
Pronunciation of Mustimuhw (mus-team-uchh)
Through the 1990’s the circle of involvement in the evolution of Mustimuhw grew to include many other First Nations in British Columbia. Other First Nations Health Centers recognized the value of the Mustimuhw solution and its fit with their workflow and program requirements. In turn, the nurses and other program areas in all of these First Nations further contributed to refining the business requirements and improving the design and functionality of Mustimuhw. In particular Hilika’as Heiltsuk Health Centre and the nursing department at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
This period saw continued growth in terms of the number of First Nations who wanted to use the Mustimuhw Community Electronic Medical Record (cEMR). In 2009 Cowichan did a comprehensive business evaluation around Mustimuhw, and it was decided that the growing interest by other First Nations Health Centres called for a business model that tied licensing to the provision of the full range of support services they need to keep their implementation and use a sustained success. The Service Level Agreement model was created where, at the direction of Health Directors using Mustimuhw, a single annual price for licensing and the associated supporting services was implemented.
In 2014, Cowichan Tribes set up a fully owned subsidiary company, Mustimuhw Information Solutions Inc., to manage the business. The growth of the customer base reached a point of critical mass where it was more efficient and effective to set up the appropriate corporate structure rather than operate as a division of health services. This proved to be the right decision as the Mustimuhw footprint expanded rapidly between 2014 and 2020 with operations in seven provinces and Mustimuhw used in support of over 270 First Nations in Canada.