What’s up, Doc? Iowa’s EHR Portal Allows Patients to View Online Records from Home, Chat with Doctors

David Blumenthal, ONC; Photo: hhs.gov, claimcare.net

Electronic health records have been touted by supporters of the technology, including National Health IT Coordinator David Blumenthal, as tools of better medicine for doctors.

But, according to a report in The Des Moines Register, at one Iowa hospital, electronic medical records are also being used by the patients, themselves.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics made patient records available through a secure, online portal called MyChart, which has proven popular with patients. The site allows patients to see their test results and current medications, as well as schedule appointments and securely message doctors and nurses, according to The Register.

Thirty-five percent of patients have accessed MyChart since it was implemented in July, with about 50 percent of those viewing test results, 12 percent viewing appointments and 11 percent sending messages to doctors and nurses, according to the paper.

Barb Miller, a breast cancer survivor said she used to keep all of the paperwork from doctor visits, which amounted to inches-thick stacks of paper.

“It’s nice to have all my information there in one place so I don’t have to repeat my health history every time I go to a new doctor,” she told The Register.

Meanwhile, Blumenthal, who heads the Health and Human Services Department’s efforts on electronic medical records, delayed a vote on setting rules for a committee tasked with creating guidelines for the Nationwide Health Information Network. The NHIN is a keystone of the national health IT agenda championed by Blumenthal and HHS.

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