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Dome - When patient health records go paperless

Dome June 2012

When patient health records go paperless

Date: June 15, 2012

Records go paperless

With more and more people conducting their day-to-day business online, it’s no surprise that patients of Johns Hopkins Medicine soon will have the opportunity to manage their personal health records from the privacy and convenience of their laptops, thanks to the introduction of MyChart.

A function of Epic, the software recently selected by Hopkins to create a unified, systemwide electronic medical record, MyChart allows patients to view their personal health records online. Howard Levy, a Hopkins internal medicine physician and part of the institution’s Epic team, explains how MyChart will improve not only patient experiences, but also those of physicians, nurses and other clinicians.

Q. How does MyChart work, and what are its advantages?

MyChart is a portal that allows patients to securely view such personal information as test results, medication records and immunization records. These are things that a lot of patients might typically call their doctor’s office about. And while we’re always happy to answer questions, there’s a limit to how much time we have to return phone calls and answer routine questions.

The program also allows [patients] to request medication refills, request and schedule appointments and send us questions. It permits physicians and staff to dedicate that time to seeing patients and handling more complicated matters.

Q. What are some of MyChart’s other capabilities?

The utility of this program is limitless. It can be used for research studies, to populate routine medical history and for generating patient-satisfaction surveys. The questionnaire function is another wonderful tool that will allow providers to ask patients for specific information that they can upload to their medical record. There’s also the option of conducting e-visits, so that patients can have an evaluation electronically.

Q. What feedback have you received about MyChart?

I think one of the biggest benefits is that it will facilitate better communication between providers and patients. According to other institutions and the Epic staff, patients find that getting access to their personal health record is both powerful and reassuring.

I’ve also met with patients from other medical institutions using MyChart, and all of them rave about their experience with it. The system allows providers to include patients as members of a team all working together toward a common goal.