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Healthcare

Information Systems Structures in Health Care

In today’s complex health care environments, organizations must be knowledgeable of current and emerging trends and regulations to achieve optimal patient care and treatment at all times. A key component of this practice is to keep patients updated regarding their medical records, appointments, medications, tests, and other statuses with their computers or mobile devices. This prevents the necessity to contact offices and clinics by phone to obtain medical records and updates. In response to this need for mobile access to updated medical information, a system known as MyChart is used widely across many health care organizations in the United States.  The MyChart system has already been proven successful and useful to patients seeking updated medical information quickly and efficiently.

Analysis

In modern health care systems, many technology-based tools are available to provide patients with information, testing, and other resources in an efficient manner. In addition, patients want access to their medical records in a similar fashion in the comfort of their own homes or other environments. Many health care organizations have responded to this challenge by developing systems which allow patients to access their health records and information at their convenience in a mobile or home environment. This alternative has become increasingly popular in a technology-driven world and has provided patients with access to their records at their choosing. In conjunction with the demand for this service, the MyChart system was developed by Epic, which provides “patients controlled access to the same Epic medical records their doctors use, via browser or mobile app” (Epic, 2013). With this system, electronic records access is available to patients quickly and easily in a safe browsing environment (Epic, 2013). MyChart is an extension of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) in many organizations and provides patients with their medical information at their convenience (Epic, 2013). MyChart is accessible upon secure registration with a user name and password from any web browser; therefore, patients have easy access to their information as needed (Epic, 2013).  As an extension of the traditional electronic health record available to physicians and clinicians, MyChart provides medical records for patients to supplement the services provided in the doctor’s office or clinic to accommodate patient needs in an effective manner.

This system was selected because it provides important information to patients as they need and saves time for clinicians with respect to making additional phone calls to patients. The availability of personal medical records is very important to many patients; therefore, this type of system is appropriate for the organization to improve the overall customer service experience in different ways. Since customer service is such an important component of the patient experience, it is necessary for health care organizations to go the extra mile and to develop methods of providing health information to patients in a user friendly and efficient manner. MyChart offers this approach and is a highly useful tool for patients and clinicians alike. With MyChart, patients have access to medication information and dosages, test results, past and future appointments, and other tools (Dean Health Plan, 2006). In addition, the system allows for “secure and confidential e-mail communication with your practitioner and health staff” (Dean Health Plan, 2006), which is critical so that patients have access to their physicians without delay.

This system is applicable to the work area because in working with patients, clinicians have learned that they want easy and efficient access to their health records without having to request this information from their physicians, which may take additional time and effort. With MyChart, they are able to access these records freely and independently on their own time. With the demands of the modern health care system, it is often very difficult to balance patient requests for medical records with other responsibilities. However, there are disadvantages to electronic access to records and physicians, such as the following: “A physician communicating sensitive information to a patient may be exposing that patient to other onlookers…Physicians investigating EMR systems need to consider all the possible clinical scenarios through which they could be tripped up by premature release of information” (Sattinger, 2007). Under these conditions, it is important for physicians and clinicians working with medical information to be sensitive to issues regarding confidentiality and premature release of private data that could require additional evaluation (Sattinger, 2007).  This type of system must be balanced between the needs of patients and the confidential nature of the information that is provided to them.

Conclusion

The development of a patient access tool such as MyChart provides significant benefits for health care organizations and their end users. With the continued growth and expansion of technological interfaces, access to health care data and information as more important than ever and requires physicians and clinicians alike to be aware of patient preferences with respect to their medical records. As a result, MyChart is a viable and effective tool in providing much-needed access to patient information in a manner which is consistent with protocols and standards of confidentiality and the protection of sensitive information. It is important for health care organizations to consider tools such as MyChart as a means of improving access and supporting the needs of patients in a timely and efficient manner. Their medical records are important tools in examining health status and wellbeing; therefore, access should be simplistic and efficient to meet these needs accordingly.

References

Dean Health Plan (2006). MyChart: a new online tool. Retrieved from http://www.staywellcustomweb.com/deanhc/notables/sum06/story14.html

Epic (2013). Personal Health Records (PHRs), Portals and Mobile Applications. Retrieved From http://www.epic.com/software-phr.php

Sattinger, A.M. (2007). Communicating with patients and staff via electronic office communication systems. Retrieved from http://www.enttoday.org/details/article/527287/Communicating_with_Patients_and_Staff_via_Electronic_Office_Communication_System.html