Patients in the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital healthcare system now have access to their medical records and other perks through an online patient portal which was launched in stages throughout 2015.
The portal is available to patients of the 13 medical practices affiliated with Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, explained Shiloh Casey, systems analyst for HCMH.
Through MyHealthRecord.com, 24-hour access is offered so patients can access their medical records and lab test results, request appointment times or view existing appointments scheduled, send private messages to the doctor’s office staff for questions or to request prescription refills and more, said Casey as she demonstrated the site through a test patient set up in the system.
“The good thing is they can all be connected to one user account,” Casey said of the various medical practices. So if someone is a patient of Hugh Chatham Women’s Care in Elkin and a patient of Tri-County Orthopedics in Elkin, the patient can access medical records, labs and other information for both practices on the one user account they have without having to monitor multiple accounts.
“We have a portal here in the hospital as well, but it’s separate because we use different software in the practices,” she explained.
To sign up for a user account in the new portal system, Casey said patients will provide the medical practice with an email address which can be given at a doctor’s visit or called in on the phone, the practice will then send an invite to the portal to the patient’s email. The patient will access the portal via the link sent in the invite and sign up for a user account and password.
“It will ask for their name, birth date and zip code, and then it prompts you to create a user and password. And then you’re in to see your account,” she said.
Individuals who use the portal are able to send a private message to their health care team, view or download pertinent portions of their medical record, access lab test results, review vital signs, medications and health history, and see scheduled appointments and request changes if needed.
“We encourage people to take an active role in managing their health, and the portal helps by allowing them to securely view their health history and send messages to their provider team at any time, from any internet connection,” said Paul Hammes, chief executive officer of HCMH. “The portal is also useful for busy parents and authorized caregivers, who now don’t have to wait to access important health information.”
Casey said staff at the medical practices are logged in all day, and they get an alert when a message comes through the portal.
Another benefit, she explained, is the first-time patient forms which typically are mailed out now are accessible through the portal, so patients can fill those out online and submit them via the portal. “It cuts down on all the paperwork, and saves the staff manually having to enter things like they were before,” Casey said.
The portal is compatible with mobile devices so patients can access their information on their phones or tablets in addition to the computer, she added.
Implementation of the portal began in March with Tri-County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, which has offices in Elkin, Jonesville, Mount Airy and Sparta, and has been added at the other practices throughout the year, Casey explained.
For 2016, an additional project is being added to the portal. Casey said the hope is within the next six months to add a bill pay function to the portal so patients can pay online.
Hugh Chatham affiliated practices offering the patient portal access include:
• Clingman Medical Center in Ronda
• Hugh Chatham Behavioral Care in Elkin
• Hugh Chatham Express Care in Dobson and Elkin
• Hugh Chatham Family Medicine in Boomer, Hays, Elkin and Jonesville
• Hugh Chatham Neurology in Elkin
• Hugh Chatham Podiatry in Elkin and Kin
• Hugh Chatham Surgical in Elkin
• Hugh Chatham Urgent Care in Jonesville
• Hugh Chatham Women’s Center in Elkin
• Tri-County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Elkin, Jonesville, Mount Airy and Sparta
• Yadkin Valley Adult Medicine in Elkin
• Yadkin Valley Dermatology in Elkin
• Yadkin Valley Gastroenterology in Elkin
• Yadkin Valley Pulmonary and Critical Care in Elkin
• Yadkin Valley Urology in Elkin.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.