Friday, October 06, 2006

Electronic communication between patients and clinicians

A few days ago, I commented on David's post about the use of email-type communications by physicians and patients - I had a very positive experience with a patient portal with clinician/patient messaging after a recent healthcare visit at Vanderbilt.

The patient portal at Vanderbilt, MyHealthAtVanderbilt, has been very well-received by patients and clinicians in the medical center. Rather than relying on email, this portal uses the electronic medical record system's secure messaging; when a patient has a new communication from the healthcare provider, they get a generic email to their regular email address saying that a new message is available in the portal, addressing some of the concerns about security and protecting patient confidentiality.

I'm definitely not an expert about the system, but a few related news stories from the Vanderbilt Reporter discuss more about the patient healthcare portal and how it has been received by doctors and patients:

- "My Health’ site’s traffic, capabilities growing fast"

"As physicians and staff in each clinic are introduced to My Health, Muse and Jirjis have found a pattern of initial reluctance and anxiety giving way to enthusiastic adherence after the site goes into use....[One physician comments] "When the Diabetes Center was preparing to join My Health, “The fear was that, once patients can send messages to their doctor and put notes into their chart, the physician's time will no longer be protected. I was concerned about that myself, but I concluded that the benefits to patients would be worth it. As it turns out, My Health has improved my practice while also helping me compartmentalize my time."
- "New Web tool unites patients, clinical teams"
"These days everything from the bank to the library to the IRS has a Web-based interface to improve customer access. 'Why not your doctor's office?' asks Jim N. Jirjis, M.D., assistant chief medical officer and director of the Adult Primary Care Center. "

- "Some lab results now available online"

And this PowerPoint presentation also describes the project in more detail, complete with screenshots.

And a related story about a Harris Interactive and Wall Street Journal study of patient preferences - "Patients want doctors to embrace the Internet"

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2 Comments:

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

The lab results are my favorite feature. Due to my previous thyroid disorder, I have to have a battery of lab tests each year, including a test that could indicate thyroid cancer. I can see how the labs came back several days before the clinician's letter arrives in the mail, a huge benefit when you're waiting to find out if you might have cancer (even if the risk is very small).

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger BeckyJ said...

The lab results were another point of contention with gaining initial clinician acceptance of the portal -- the developers went through a process of exploration and negotiation with the providers to decide which test results should be available immediately, which should be delayed (so that the physician "sees" the results first and can follow up with the patient if necessary), and which should never be made available through the portal. The full list is available online with more details.

 

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