Sutter Health Offers Mobile Tool to Drive Business

Doug Desjardins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 5, 2011

For iPhone users, there seems to an endless stream of innovative apps and one of the newest allows patients to access personal medical records while they're on-the-go.

Sutter Health in California became the first healthcare system in the state to provide patients access to "MyChart for the iPhone," an app from tech company Epic that allows patients to access their electronic health records using an iPhone, iPad or an iPod touch. MyChart 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.

"The MyChart app literally puts the tools patients need to manage their health right at their fingertips," said Albert Chan, MD, a family medicine physician with Sutter-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation. "And it's really helpful in reminding patients when they're due for preventive care for things like pap smears, mammograms or flu shots."

The tool alerting users that it's time to schedule annual screenings and tests serves a dual purpose. It helps patients maintain a schedule of preventive care while driving more business to providers that may have been overlooked without a reminder.

Sutter Health, which is based in Sacramento and operates 24 hospitals and 17 outpatient centers in California, is marketing "MyChart for the iPhone" through a network of online sites including FaceBook, Twitter and its own Web site. For now, only patients who are signed up for Sutter Health's My Health Online service can use the app, since they need to have a pre-existing connection to Sutter's online network. Chan said there are more than 400,000 Sutter Health patients signed on to My Health Online and he expects word-of-mouth from users to spread the word about MyChart through a sort of informal viral campaign.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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