Wednesday, January 02, 2008

PatientSite comes through again

I know I have written about PatientSite before, but I wanted to share this recent note from a patient. I am sorry if it seems too self-congratulatory for me to do this, but when you get a reaction like this, it is very satisfying. You can check out the demo here.

Just wanted to let you know that the program is FANTASTIC!! I recently had an Echo and Stress test (due to chest pains and shortness of breath) which came out normal, but I could get the results when it was convenient for me, without bothering my very busy physician -- especially since the results were normal. Of course, had they been abnormal he would have been available to discuss the results, but to be able to access my information and get the details I needed so quickly and simply is just amazing (and efficient). Congratulations to you and the whole IT team for a very patient-centered program.


John Halamka said...

Thanks Paul! Dr. Ken Mandl at Children's Hospital Boston, Dr. Paul Tang at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and I recently reviewed our collective experience with Personal Health Records to share lessons learned with the entire healthcare community. You'll find the abstract and links to the article at

Anonymous said...

Yes, Paul, it would be great to be able to see my test results on PatientSite. Unfortunately, providers are allowed to opt out and not let patients see their lab results. While I have a terrific PCP we do disagree on this point. As a result, I have to telephone to get my results. Often I find I cannot follow up on a test result because I have gotten an acronym wrong. I have to decide to take the time and call back or let it go.

Only in the rarest of situations should a provider be allowed to prevent this access, and it should be on a case by case basis, not all patients.


Anonymous said...

True, some doctors choose not to make results available in this way. We are trying to persuade them otherwise, but as a final matter they have the right to decide how to run their practice.

Anonymous said...

Well, as the world's #1 cheerleader for PatientSite, I'll of course echo my past praise. I'll add these points:

- When I was in the depths of my illness last year, I could give my login info to knowledgeable relatives and friends, who could help me interpret the info. This greatly increased my sense of having some control over my situation, which I very much wanted. It's TERRIBLE to call a doctor's office with a question and wait and wait and wait.

- The records are all organized for future reference, including ones I might never have bothered to keep. That includes prescription info, as well as lab results and CT scans.

- One of my providers recently called and said "I know you're going to see a note about this in the radiology report, so I wanted to go over it with you in advance." How great is that?

But I know there's an extra burden on the provider and I respect that. All my physicians will attest that I ask a lot of questions. I respect their commitment to partnership and I limit my questions (as much as I can).

I know it's a risk for providers to share the gory details with us. But it's a clear glimpse of how things will be done everywhere, in the future, and it's a pleasure to be part of it now. Huzzah.

Anonymous said...

I tried three of my providers here in Needham, none are on the site. If they practice at BIDNeedham, would they be on it. If I go to an allergist about a rash, he should be able to see the dermatologist report, etc... I have no problem with giving a practitioner my password to see my records...saves schlepping around a bunch of papers.

Anonymous said...


Please let me a comment with the names of the doctors, which I will not publish but will use to follow up with them.

Anonymous said...

I really like my primary care doctor, whom I chose despite the fact that she doesn't use PatientSite, but I really wish that I had greater access to my medical infomation. My doctor, a fairly young attending who is probably quite comfortable with technology, explained that enabling PatientSite would be too much of a burden for her. I don't know what is involved on the provider's end, but I wonder whether a stripped down option that would involve less work for physicians might be made available.

E-mail communication is great and will probably improve healthcare productivity in the long-run, but I can live without it. I'm much more interested in being able to see my test results and a portion of medical record.

I'm left having to place a formal request for my records which is inconvenient for me and more expensive for BI.

Anonymous said...

PatientSite is worthwhile only if the PCP and staff update the information on the site. We have had an ER visit, no updated info available to BI ER. Very frustrating experience with our BIDMC PCP which diminishes the stature of BI and our confidence level in quality of care!

Lyss said...

I tried to use this back in late July/early August when I was a patient at BIDMC. It was confusing and I don't think the doc I was seeing at BIDMC Boston was even signed up for this. Why isn't everyone required to at lease sign up, and then let them choose what patients have access to?

As a patient, don't I have a right to access my med record without having to call the nice old lady who works in the Medical Records Dept. or mail in a form?

Anonymous said...

What happened with Patiemtsite, the EDP project? It seems awfully quiet around it.

Besides that me and my wife are patients at Beth Israel (and our providers there regretably do not use the system), I'm an ex-software development manager and professional records manager and my wife is one of maybe five unique experts nationwide in anonymized health care databases at a large health care data company. My sister in the Netherlands keeps me posted on EDP in Europe as the PR-officer responsible for all IT developments in her large mental health care organization there.

The results are discouraging. Patient record keeping is more 'manual', timeconsuming and costly than ever. Communication between health carre providers in virtually non-existent, which leads to serious health care problems including wrong or absent diagnosis or overmedication.
In the Netherlands (first major health care providing country to mandate EDP) that govenment led EDP project is as good as failed.

The commercial sector in the US, the most capable to do the job, seems to be mainly filling the EDP developemnt departments with people which have no vision nor skills to make it happen.

What happened with showing the health care providers and patients their self-interest in EDP, with selling the product based on rational benefits?

Insurers and health care providers could give patients a discount if they sign up for EDP (it saves tons of money and insurers are certainly hrting for savings now). They could give doctors and labs a better rate if they use EDP. Health care providers using EDP could be given 'preferred status' in many areas with special benefits. And those are just simple examples.

The myth amongst health care providers is that the 'data entry' will cost more time and money. It should not, especially if integrated with the 'insurance related' processes, so the financial process. Imagine if a patient pre-records his patient information in an electronic record instead of the manual form. It means that the 'bookeepre' at the counter of each doctor's office would have virtually no work with that, not with data entry nor with transferring the data to others.

It is also an opportunity to revamp currrent office processes at the health care providers. Most doctors I have met, have badly organized office staff, who still keep records mostly manually and ask patients at every visit again the same information, antagonizing the patients as well, who know by now that things coudl be better (most use computers at home).

An 'office management review service' by real 'experts' should lift the quality and productivity in those offices and implement EDP at the same time.

Such a project is mainly 'a people thing', not a 'technology thing'. Patientsite, so EDP, can easily be adopted if the people are brought on board, both by training and by hiring the right people.

Why is this not happening in EDP? Am I missing something?