In today’s world, while people habitually go online to review bank accounts or check credit reports for accuracy, the vast majority of Americans have never accessed their health records electronically, or even looked to make sure their information is correct. There are lots of people who don’t even ask their health care provider about treatments.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) has long advocated for allowing patients access to their own medical records, under the principle that knowing your health information helps achieve better health outcomes.
At last year’s ONCHIT Patient Access Summit, the organization said giving consumers easy electronic access to their own health information was a key step in empowering individuals to be more engaged partners in their health care. This entails coordinating care among multiple providers, making sure medical records are accurate and complete, and using apps and tools for planning and meeting personal health goals, ranging from managing medications and healthcare finances to being able to play tag with the grandkids.
One of the major concerns of those dealing with personal health records in the past has been that they are all on mutually incompatible Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms, with numerous patient portals. Now Get Real Health has developed InstantPHR, an untethered patient engagement platform that works on virtually any system.
“We’re not just a patient portal, we’re patient engagement,” says Christina Caraballo, Get Real Health’s senior strategist. “It’s really about being able to do it for the patient in a way that works for them. That can be on PC, on mobile, in the Apple store or Android store, and it’s all about making it convenient for the patients.”
Caraballo argues InstantPHR isn’t just a repository for users’ medical records; it’s much more, helping a patient identify critical insights. And whether a doctor operates his/her own small business or is part of a larger hospital, it’s a tool that makes the job considerably easier and more productive.
“The technology helps patients keep track of their day-to-day health, allowing them to set medication reminders, record daily information, follow a doctor’s set action plan, and keep track of their records and prescriptions,” she says.
For instance, a patient with mental illness will be reminded of things they need to do every day along with a series of questions to answer, such as “How many hours did you sleep?” “Are you hearing voices?” and “What’s your mood?”
“There’s an alert system on the back end that will send an alert to the family and doctor to let them know when something is wrong,” Caraballo says.
InstantPHR also recommends when it’s time for a colonoscopy, lets diabetics know when to test blood sugar levels (and alerts family when it’s out of range), and provides the answers to make everyday savvy health decisions based on a series of simple questions.
The system also reveals trends, which can help patients make life-saving modifications to their behavior and plan better. Caraballo cites an example of a patient with congestive heart failure who is experiencing weight gain following a hospital stay. Thanks to Get Real Health’s InstantPHR platform, the person could see what they weigh each day and realize before it is too late how to change unhealthy habits.
InstantPHR is available in multiple languages and can be branded to match any organization’s look and feel, as well as satisfy localization and language requirements.
The app allows patients to review medical information before their visit, allowing for improved in-person visits and more efficiency.
“Patients who use InstantPHR are more satisfied and experience better clinical outcomes,” Caraballo says. “They feel more in control of their healthcare and perceive the doctor-patient relationship as more of an equal partnership.”
Since the advent of Electronic Health Records, the many advantages have been held back by one simple problem: competing platforms that inhibit the easy portability of patient records. That problem has now been solved.