Historically, physician and hospital communications with patients have been phone based. Patients call their doctors’ offices to book appointments, and physicians call their patients with lab results. Imagine scheduling appointments with your healthcare provider online in the comfort of your own home, and being able to access your lab results at the same time your doctor receives them. Today, about 23 percent of patients who see physicians and therapists affiliated with the Memorial Hermann Post Acute Care Network have signed up to take advantage of the patient portal on the Memorial Hermann Everyday Well website. The Network’s goal is to surpass 75 percent enrollment by the end of 2017.
“Healthcare providers started developing patient portals in the mid-2000s, as physicians and hospitals began integrating electronic communications meaningfully into their operations,” says Jason Petrishin, RN, FACHE, director of the TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Medical Clinic. “Memorial Hermann launched its patient portal several years ago, but in my opinion it’s been underutilized. Now that we’re moving into an era of end-to-end health care, with Memorial Hermann as Houston’s preferred provider for healthcare services, we have the opportunity to leverage electronic communications in a very useful way. As we fully engage and use the portal, and as more patients begin talking with us over the Internet, it will dramatically expand the ways in which we organize and improve communications.”
The Everyday Well portal gives patients a personal view into the electronic medical record their physicians use to manage and document their health care. Everyday Well allows them to schedule an appointment, check lab results, request a prescription refill and send a message to their physicians – all with just a few clicks. The site can be accessed at any time on any device.
In June 2017, TIRR Memorial Hermann was the first facility in the Memorial Hermann Health System to post inpatient appointments to the patient portal. “Whether it’s by tablet, phone or computer, patients and their caregivers can keep close tabs on their plan of care during their stay at TIRR,” Petrishin says. “As professionals we need to understand the tools and be very active in enrolling patients, family members and caregivers into our electronic communication channels. The patient portal and other services available through Everyday Well will drive increased patient engagement and satisfaction, and at the same time help us use our resources more efficiently in the coming years. If employees are patients at Memorial Hermann hospitals – and I hope they are – they should access the portal themselves, which will help them understand how useful these tools are.”
When asked if he considers increasing enrollment in the portal from 23 percent to 75 percent an ambitious goal for 2017, Petrishin responded with the same attitude that permeates TIRR Memorial Hermann: “That’s what we do at TIRR – set ambitious goals and meet them.”