Issue 3 Stories
Sentara in the Community

MyChart:

A Convenient New Way to Take Charge of Your Health

So many of us are so busy these days, sometimes keeping track of all of life’s little details can be overwhelming. Now, however, Sentara offers an online tool to help you manage one very important aspect of your life: your health care. The Sentara MyHealth MyChart patient portal allows patients to access portions of their medical record online via desktop computer and with a mobile app.

The portal enables patients to:

•    Check test results

•    Message healthcare providers

•    Request prescription refills

•    Receive reminders about appointments and needed screenings

•    View information, including medical history and allergies

•    Get in-depth details about conditions, medications and more

MyChart is a part of Epic, the primary electronic medical record system for Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and Sentara RMH Medical Center, as well as other facilities and providers in the Sentara network. While both hospitals previously had their own separate portals for outpatient and inpatient services, all information is now combined into one system.

Many patients enjoy the convenience of being able to view test results through the portal, according to Janice Clark, manager of the Sentara MyChart team for strategy and support. With MyChart, results from blood tests, mammograms, X-rays and more are all just a few clicks away. Another handy feature is the ability to track test results over time. “If you’re worried about your blood sugar, for example, and you’re getting it tested frequently, there’s a graphing feature to help you keep track of your numbers and see how you’re doing as time goes on,” says Clark, who adds that new MyChart features are being introduced regularly.

Patients can also use MyChart to view their medications, allergies and what is known as a “problem list”—a listing of each patient’s medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. For those who want to learn more about a particular topic, MyChart provides links to more in-depth health information. For instance, if you’re looking at blood test results within MyChart, you can view an explanation on complete blood count (CBC) tests, or you can find out more about a new medication your doctor has prescribed.

A Faster, Easier Way to Manage Your Health

If you need refills of current prescriptions written by a Sentara Medical Group provider, MyChart allows you to send a refill request to your provider at the click of a button. Patients also can send messages to their providers, rather than having to call the office and play “phone tag.” Providers usually respond to messages sent through the portal within two business days. “That tends to be the biggest benefit of MyChart for many patients,” Clark notes. “If you think about the time it often takes to try to connect with your doctor when you don’t know each other’s schedules, the portal offers a much more efficient way to communicate.”

Online patient portals like MyChart also help patients become more educated and involved in their own health care, according to Clark, who adds that studies show patients are more engaged when they have access to their medical information and are empowered to learn and ask questions. “One major concept behind the whole idea of the patient portal is to help patients collaborate in their care,” she notes.

Part of getting more involved with your health care includes knowing when you’re due for preventive screenings like mammograms or flu shots. MyChart makes that easy by providing reminders when a patient logs in to the portal, according to Jeannie Allen, team coordinator for Sentara MyChart. For instance, MyChart will let you know when you last had a mammogram and when you should have your next one, she says. The portal offers the ability to request an appointment—or in the case of most mammograms, which don’t require a doctor referral, MyChart allows you to schedule the appointment yourself. These health maintenance reminders are tailored specifically for each patient, based on the individual’s healthcare history, says Allen. Clark notes that portal reminders have been shown effective in getting patients to make appointments, leading to real-world benefits. “We can send group messages to patients, such as a call-to-action to encourage patients to get flu shots, and we’ll have an uptick in responses,” she says.

For parents and guardians of children under the age of 14, a feature known as proxy access enables you to see your child’s records in MyChart—a nice timesaver for busy moms and dads. You’ll just need to complete a permission form before being granted proxy access. Adults also may grant permission for a spouse, adult child, or other caregiver to access their MyChart account, which can be helpful in keeping track of appointments and medications. Older adults often grant proxy access to their adult children for that reason.

With so many benefits now available through the new patient portal, start taking charge of your health today by signing up for a MyChart account!

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