Know Thy Digital Self
Date: September 1, 2013
Now that MyChart—Epic’s secure patient website—has launched across Johns Hopkins Medicine in outpatient settings (with the exception of Suburban Hospital) and also in inpatient settings at Howard County General Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital, employees who receive care from Johns Hopkins providers have a new tool for accessing their personal medical record.
For many employees, however, MyChart is not the only source for personal health information. There is also HealthLINK, the patient portal available to members of the Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs, or EHP.
Each site collects and organizes data differently. With MyChart, patients can request appointments and correspond with providers. It also shows visit summaries as well as most test results, diagnoses and medications.
HealthLINK allows patients to review their benefits coverage, check the status of referrals and claims, and maintain a record of immunizations, allergies, medications and other personal health information, including diagnoses and procedures. Members may also use the portal to correspond with EHP customer service representatives through secure email.
When used in tandem, MyChart and HealthLINK offer patients a more detailed picture of their medical history, says Victoria Fretwell, Johns Hopkins HealthCare’s senior director of marketing and communications. She points out that upcoming changes in the employee benefits package will make it even more compelling to use both. On Jan. 1, 2014, when EHP members begin to cover more of their own health care costs, electronic medical records can help them take a less-costly approach by avoiding duplicative tests, unnecessary appointments and unneeded treatment.
The scope and depth of personal data vary from one website to the other. MyChart limits patient information to entries by Johns Hopkins Medicine providers. In contrast, HealthLINK gathers all patient encounters and procedures submitted to EHP by the network’s 18,000 providers, including doctors, clinics, hospitals, urgent care centers, pharmacies and other points of care. So far, 12 percent of EHP’s 57,000 members have registered with HealthLINK, which launched four years ago.
Because many EHP members receive health care outside of Johns Hopkins Medicine, their medical records aren’t available in MyChart. The website’s use by employees is likely to increase, however, as they realize that their health care benefits will offer financial incentives to use Johns Hopkins providers.
Open enrollment for the new benefits package takes place Oct. 21 through Nov. 4 for nonrepresented employees at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and all employees at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins HealthCare, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group, Johns Hopkins International and Johns Hopkins Intrastaff.
EHP members can log on to the HealthLINK portal from www.ehp.org.
To sign up for MyChart, request an activation code in person at a participating Johns Hopkins Medicine facility. Then, log on to mychart.hopkinsmedicine.org, enter your activation code and follow MyChart enrollment instructions.