Local Electronic Medical Records Used By Patients Mirrors National Growth

Technology enables two Dayton women to gain quicker access to records, appointments

DAYTON, Ohio (August 20, 2013) – Cory Newhouse didn’t think much about the back pain she experienced during a recent Monday afternoon. She took a couple ibuprofen capsules and went to bed early that night fully expecting the night’s rest to take care of the pain.

She soon realized her self-diagnosis was wrong when the back pain woke her at 5 the next morning, keeping her from getting any further rest. Restless and unable to move around in the early morning hours, Newhouse decided to log on to MyChart – the patient portal of Premier HealthNet’s electronic medical records – to see if she could make an appointment with her doctor.

The process was easier than Newhouse thought and within minutes she had scheduled an appointment that morning with her physician – enabling her to bypass the usual early morning rush of phone calls to the doctor’s office.

“I didn’t have to wait until the phones opened up and then sit on hold because the phones are always busy first thing in the morning,” she said. “I didn’t have to worry about the possibility that I wouldn’t get an appointment because of those who may have been in front of me on the phones.”

Newhouse’s story is a local example of a growing national trend. Electronic medical records do not just benefit the physicians whose offices are implementing them. They also improve the ease and access of the healthcare for patients. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), two out of three people said they would consider switching to a doctor who offers access to medical records through a secure Internet connection. And in 2011, 17 million consumers used their mobile device to access health information.

EMRs provide patients with instant access to medical information that was historically tucked away in paper charts inside a physician’s office. Patients are now able to access medical history, check vaccination records, view test results and refill prescriptions with the click of a mouse or touch of an app. The result is less paperwork, better care coordination among health care professionals, faster and more accurate prescriptions, fewer and more accurate tests and greater control over one’s health, according to the HHS.

Premier HealthNet patient Lisa Garrison experienced the benefit of EMRs during a recent visit to a specialist’s office. The specialist was not linked to the same EMR network as her primary care physician, but Garrison was able to pull up her test results by using the view-only option on her phone app. This enabled the specialist to see the test results during the appointment, reducing the appointment time and increasing the accuracy of her care.

“It’s fabulous,” Garrison said of MyChart. “Everything is at my fingertips. I use it to confirm medications; I get appointment reminders and see when I am due for health maintenance.”

According to the HHS, 80 percent of Americans have access to their health information through an EMR use it. And 65 percent of those who don’t have the use of EMRs say it’s important to have it. Perhaps patients are catching on to what recent studies have shown: People who are more engaged in their health actually get better health care, the HHS said.

The nation has undergone a significant transformation with information technology. Today’s consumers have access at their fingertips to a wide range of information and services, the HHS said. Technology has transformed the way individuals manage their relationship with banks, utilities and government and health care shouldn’t be an exception. Physicians understand that and now patients are realizing it.

“Without MyChart, I would have had to make a phone call to the doctor’s office, and probably have to leave a message and wait for someone to get back with me,” Garrison said, referring to her need to access test results. “Instead, I was able to share information with the specialist at any time, on my schedule and not necessarily when my primary care office was open.”

To learn more about MyChart visit www.PremierHealth.com/MyChart.

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