Monday, May 6, 2013

Patient Portals

For years I was asked if I would communicate with patients via email, but I was hesitant to open up that door for fear that what little personal time I have I would spend messaging patients. I read a few articles about it nearly 10 years ago and decided to give it a try. We enrolled to use a Patient Medical Record before we decided to use an Electronic Medical Record and the results have been mostly very positive. Just this morning I received a message from a patient of mine on vacation in Finland. He was having some eye problems and was worried he should come home.I advised him to be seen immediately over there and arranged for follow up when he comes home with a local ophthalmology group. In the past I've refilled medication for patients spending the winter out of state down south. I've managed some of my college students while off to school out of state. We've even been able to inform patients about their test results without having to bring them in. We manage about 300 messages per month via the portal and it's really cut down on office calls. Simple problems like sinus infections, poison ivy/rash, athletes foot, or urinary tract infections can be treated via Webvisits and then followed up in the office at a later time so the patient can get treated over the weekend instead of missing work or going to the Emergency Department for things that are not really emergencies. A simple experiment 10 years ago has improved care for over 1500 patients who are connected in our practice. Who would have thought I'd be giving medical advice in Finland today.
Take care.