Technology Puts Medical Info In 'Palm Of Your Hand'
Dr. David Danhauer
Technology has changed the world. It's also changing your healthcare.
I became a doctor in 1983, and in my time, I've seen technology transform the way we deliver care. Now, I'm chief medical information officer for Owensboro Health, and I see even more of how computers, smartphones and the Internet are changing the way we work.
Why is this happening? Because technology can enhance and improve the care we give to our patients. That makes investing in technology the right thing to do.
Setting The Record Straight
One of the most crucial parts of practicing medicine is getting to know everything about the patient. Allergies, medications, previous injuries and surgeries are all things of which a doctor needs to be aware. In emergency situations, having accurate information at hand is even more crucial.
That's where electronic health records come into play. Remember the days when you had to call a doctor's office and ask them to send or fax over your chart to another doctor? Electronic medical records are making that a thing of the past.
Owensboro Health's One Health medical group includes more than 180 doctors in more than 30 specialties at more than 25 locations. Imagine the mountain of paper it would take to have a printed chart at each clinic! Thanks to our electronic medical records system, all our providers (including specialists) have patient information readily at their fingertips. It reduces wait time and patients can give their information to one of our providers so all can have it. It also makes it easy to maintain records that are accurate and up-to-date, because providers regularly verify information with patients at each visit.
Most importantly, every portion of the records system is heavily secured. That includes specialized encryption software installed on every computer. That prevents unauthorized access even if the computer were stolen. In the world of health care technology, there is nothing more important than safeguarding your personal information.
MyChart Is Your Chart
Electronic health records are also behind the patient records portal, one of the best innovations in health care technology. Owensboro Health's system is called MyChart, and it has a number of features that our patients find valuable:
• Access to your medical record, including test results
• A schedule of past and future appointments with Owensboro Health providers
• Appointment request system, allowing you to set up a new appointment with your provider
• Secure messaging, which allows you to contact your provider, ask questions or request a prescription refill
• Health reminders, which can alert you if you are due for a preventive screening or other care event
If you're interested in MyChart and you see an Owensboro Health provider, ask them about access. They can help you set up your account so you can make use of these features. There's even a MyChart app for mobile devices (on Android, it's on the Play Store; on Apple devices, it's on the App Store), allowing you easy access anywhere you've got a data connection to your records and results.
Thanks to the Internet, information is now available in incredible quantities, readily accessible for anyone with an Internet connection. Even those who don't have a computer at home can go to a public library and search for information to their heart's content.
In the past few months, Owensboro Health's website has gotten a bit of a makeover. It's not just about the look. It's about the quality. What good is information if it's hard to find? When we revamped our website, we looked at what pages got the most traffic and the ways in which people used the site. Then, we took that information and we used it to shape the structure of the site. The site is also responsive, meaning that it adapts to the size of the device you're on, from smaller smartphones up to larger tablets.
The result is a website that is shaped around making access to health care, health information and finding a medical provider easier. Convenience is a good thing in medicine, because when you make accessing care easy, people are more likely to take better care of their health. It also includes enhancements like online registration or sign-in ahead of outpatient diagnostic or lab testing, which saves time when you come to our locations for these appointments. You can also request an appointment with a One Health provider through the website.
In The Palm Of Your Hand
We didn't just create technology that sat still. We've learned to take our technology wherever we go. On Owensboro Health's website, www.owensborohealth.org, 43 percent of the traffic last year was from mobile devices.
To make accessing our info easier, we created a smartphone app for Android and Apple devices. If you go into the app store on a device which uses either of these operating systems, simply search "Owensboro Health" on the Play Store or App Store. Once you download and install our app, you'll have access to a number of features, including:
• Find a provider: Search through a directory of all Owensboro Health and affiliated providers.
• Locations: Need to find a clinic? This directory shows you phone numbers, addresses and can even help you get directions using your phone's map software to our locations.
• Emergency/Urgent: Want to know what's the closest urgent care or emergency room? Need directions to that facility? The app can help you call 911 in an emergency and there's even a guide that can give you tips on which type of facility is right for you.
• Regional Health: The app includes a virtual map and tour of Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, making finding your way around our facility on Pleasant Valley Road easier than ever.
If you'd like to learn more about our technology capabilities, simply visit www.owensborohealth.org. We're excited about what's to come that will enhance your health care and your experience.
Dr. David Danhauer is chief medical information officer with Owensboro Health and has been a pediatrician in Kentucky for more than 31 years.
*This article was originally published on January 11, 2016 in the Owensboro Messenger-Inquier.