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Patient Portals go Mobile

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 16, 2011
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Spectrum Health already offers a number of services online via its patient portal. Now patients can access them via a free smartphone app that provides secure access to personal health information.

With the mobile app, patients can:
  • View urgent care wait times to see which Spectrum Health urgent care locations have the fewest patients waiting to see a doctor 
  • See results for common lab tests and view upcoming appointment times and locations
  • Look up addresses, maps, and phone numbers for Spectrum Health locations, including primary care and specialty physicians
  • Consult a tool that helps them check medical symptoms and determine if they should call the doctor’s office

The organization has begun enrolling patients during the registration process and is getting a positive response, says Kim Gordon, integration solutions manager at the nine-hospital system, which is based in Grand Rapids, MI. “The number of registered users is more than 8,000 and it continues to grow as we continue to inform the patients about the portal,” she says. In particular, patients appreciate being able to check times for upcoming appointments.

California’s Sutter Health also has an app that allows patients to access their electronic health records using an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch. It allows users to send a secure message to their doctor, check lab or test results, view or schedule appointments, and receive reminders about scheduling routine checkups and exams. More than 400,000 patients have signed up for the 24-hospital system’s online portal—they’re promoting the app in part through social media and word of mouth.

Overall, more than a dozen healthcare providers across the United States have adopted the MyChart app, including the Dean Clinic in Wisconsin, SSM Medical Groups in Missouri, Oregon Health & Science University, Hawaiian Pacific Health, Baylor Clinic in Texas, and the Institute for Family Health in New York.

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