Familitizing health: Why patient portals have a long way to go

Posted by Courtney Larned

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Feb 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM

I tripped over an interesting article last week, and bookmarked it away. I finally got back to it over the weekend, and I've since been thinking about the whole "it takes a village" concept, and how applicable that is to managing health, or more appropriately, managing illness.

The article was in Medical Economics, and discussed how patients are wanting to share their medical information with people outside of the traditional care team of doctors, but there are challenges and regulatory obstacles to get family, caregivers, friends, and others involved in care access to the information.

solve the problems

Referencing research from a January report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the article mentioned that of the 18,000 people interviewed, 79% of them wanted a loved one to have access to their medical information to help with communication and healthcare coordination.

I think that is phenomenal. I wholeheartedly believe that patients and their families are underutilized in healthcare. I also believe that the collaborative approach to managing health/illness is way more effective. But I had to roll my eyes a little bit at the thought of the current solution for this being family and care partners logging into an EHR's patient portal system, using a single set of credentials meant for the patient. Say what?!?

  • No customized viewing settings or different levels of sharing,
  • Think of the headaches if you wanted to revoke access from someone,
  • Security! Privacy! No audit trails!

And unless you have lived in a bubble, chances are pretty good that you've got medical records at multiple hospitals, and in multiple doctor's offices. Even with better access for you and your care team, the information is still fragmented and spread across multiple facilities.

It's nearly impossible to communicate an accurate health story with such silo'd data.

To me, this shouldn't even be a discussion we are having in 2014. But, since we are, I want to say this: Patients, and their families and care teams, absolutely should have access to their health information. They should have it available when they need it, on the devices they use. Sharing settings should be simple, but granular enough to share the right information with the right people. All of the stakeholders in the patient's health should be able to communicate and participate.

All that said, I don't think that we should sit around and wait for our doctors and hospitals to provide it to us. Because we'll be waiting a long time.

This is why CareSync just works. Patients, families, and care teams can now access all of the patient's medical records from all of their providers. Our clinically trained team gathers and transcribes the records into meaningful summaries that can be filtered and shared. All of the stakeholders involved benefit with these newly opened channels of communication.

CareSync's web and mobile applications allow patients and their care teams to collaboratively manage information, tasks, and then document care plans from the point of care. CareSync facilitates communication between the patient/care team and their providers. Complete health summaries give all stakeholders the most relevant, up-to-date snapshot of the patient. We already know the power of being able to effectively share your health story!

We can sit around and wait for hospitals, doctors, and the electronic medical records companies to come up with more robust portals that include not just the patient, but also the extended care team, but I'd rather just take the situation into my own hands.

And I did. I hired CareSync to get all of my records from all of my providers. My representative transcribed the plans and assessments from my past medical visits to make the information meaningful and shareable. I use the web and iOS apps to use that information to collaborate with my family and care team, and share the information to receive the best possible care.

I love that I have family, friends, and non traditional caregivers able to help me as I make important decisions about my health.

How about you? Would you fall into that 79% that wants to collaboratively manage health with your loved ones?

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