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My #BlueButton Patient Journey – Laying the Groundwork

Posted on January 16, 2014 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

After taking the Blue Button Pledge, my next step is to get proactive with my medical records. As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I currently see four different doctors throughout the year. Three of those offer a patient portal. Two of them are in the same practice, and therefore use the same portal. Confused yet?

I think the key to being an engaged patient is to first make sure I can log in to each of these portals. I create bookmarks for them as well. I also make sure I know how to navigate through them and that all of my information is correct and up to date. I take care of the first two items by either looking back at papers given to me during my last office visit, or calling my PCP’s office to ask for a pin code.

Once I’ve looked through my information in each portal (powered by Cerner and athenahealth, respectively), I decide to go even further by messaging my PCP to let her know how my visit to a specialist went. If I don’t let her know now, I might forget many of the details when I see her again towards the end of the year. While I’m in there, I decide to look at my past bills to see why I’m still getting one for a balance I’m pretty sure I paid at my last office visit.

bluebuttondownload

Once those details are seen to, I decide to check out the portal used by two of my other doctors because I seem to remember seeing a Blue Button icon on one of the screens during my last log in. Sure enough, there is a link to “View, download or transmit health data.” Clicking this link takes me to a screen where I can “Support the Blue Button® initiative by downloading your health data and storing it in your personal records.”

I hit download and save them on my computer, but then I’m left wondering, “Now what?” I suppose uploading them to a thumb drive and taking them to whatever provider I see next might be helpful. But I have the sneaking suspicion they’d still prefer paper. Since my PCP’s portal doesn’t offer a Blue Button link to download my data, I decide to message my PCP again to let her know I’d like to see this offered. I wonder if she’ll appreciate the comment, and if she’s gotten the request from other patients.

I feel like my next step should be uploading my health data into some kind of personal health record, but which one? Where do I even start when it comes to selecting something like that? Honestly, the data entry involved with PHRs is off putting to me, which is probably why I haven’t created one up to this point.

What has worked for you and your family? Providers, are there PHRs you find easier to work with (assuming you interact with them at all?) I’d appreciate any reader suggestions and advice you’d care to give via the comments below.

IBM Medical Social Network – Patient Portal

Posted on March 15, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I found an interesting article on Fast Company talking about the Facebook for Patients. Of course, I’m a sucker for anything that says Facebook and patients, so I had to check it out.

Turns out the article talks about a new Medical Social Network from IBM. Officially it’s being called the IBM Patient Empowerment System. From the description, it’s an interesting mix of PHR functions where you record your health information, patient to patient interaction like PatientsLikeMe, patient to doctor interaction, and even FDA alerts and drug checking.

Of course, I wanted to try this IBM patient empowerment system out myself, but the article didn’t have a link to it. So, I headed to Google and found no website, but the first result was this video about the IBM PHR along with some press releases:

Pretty hard to judge a system if you can’t use it. Plus, it’s hard to interact with other patients if patients can’t find the portal.

I suspect that the reason I can’t find the portal is that it seems like they’re doing a beta test of the website with Gacheon University Gil Hospital in Korea. It doesn’t seem like they’ve opened up the system to everyone yet. It will be interesting to see if they continue to do a partner based approach for rolling out the IBM PHR or if they choose to open it up to anyone and everyone that wants to join.

I’d say the most controversial part of what they’re doing is probably the FDA alerts and drug checking. This tweet by Neil Versel, blogger at Meaningful Health IT news, describes why these types of alerts and information is going to require a change:

The challenge to doctors is whether IBM does it or someone else, the empowered patient is already happening. IBM’s Facebook for Patients is just one piece in the puzzle.

Practice Fusion Adds Free PHR

Posted on November 18, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

There’s no doubt that Practice Fusion has been making a big splash in the world of EMR. They were the first EMR company that I’d seen that was pioneering the “free” ad based EMR on the web. You can read more about my first impressions of their free EMR offering on EMR and HIPAA. This interview with the CEO of Practice Fusion is pretty interesting as well.

Now Practice Fusion has made the next logical step and added a PHR front end for patients to be able to access their clinical record. From the look of the screenshots (see below), I’m not seeing anything particularly special about the PHR. In fact, I’d likely say that this isn’t much more than an initial PHR offering. Since it is their initial offering, I guess that makes sense. Certainly they’ll be building it out over time.

What I find more interesting about this new PHR is that Practice Fusion built the PHR on top of Sales Force. SaleseForce.com recently made an investment in Practice Fusion and so this seems to be an extension of that partnership. I see this as a really interesting move for Practice Fusion to build a healthcare application on top of the Force.com cloud. It also will be interesting for SalesForce.com to enter the healthcare space.

Check out the following screenshots of the PHR application: