My Patient Portal and Meaningful Use – for Whom?


After my last physician office visit, I got invited to sign into the patient portal for the health system that the physician is affiliated with.  This is a very large health system in Jacksonville, FL and many would say its the premier hospital. My primary care physician who I have been seeing for a number of years is part of this system as are the specialists.

The Portal is really the most minimal of implementations, although I believe their EMR is from one of the big guys.  The main page shows:

  • Allergies (My allergies did show up in a number of my office visit documents but were not on this page, not sure why)
  • Immunizations (no data although I had a tetanus shot from my PCP)
  • Medications and Supplements
  • Health Conditions
  • Procedures
  • Blood Glucose (No data although I had this test as part of a PCP visit)
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol (No data although I had this test as part of a PCP visit) and
  • Weight

While my PCP was noted and listed as the prescriber of some of the medications, none of my office visits with him were in the system.

Under another section entitled My Health Documents  where it did have clinical summaries of other physician visits was an event dated 1/1/2016 ( which I was just alerted to via email) that was for an office visit from September 2015 but had prescriptions from 2013, the system gave all of this an encounter date of 1/1/2016. Now how’d it do that?

In My Health Documents there were also:

  • multiple instances of the same visit
  • no physician notes
  • no discussion of the results or of any tests or lab work
  • no notification that any of the results were in or out of normal ranges.

Essentially nothing of much use.

There were also no direct links to health information associated with any of the information. I had to click on the Search Health Education  link which then brought up some recommended educational materials based upon my Health conditions, procedures, medications etc. If one of these was selected, the system provided short descriptors which then had to be clicked once more to get to the  A.D.A.M content for some detailed health education materials. But given the lack of clear hyperlinking I’m sure many users are unaware there is more information available after seeing the short descriptors.

Another interesting issue, I had been prescribed Ibuprofen, which showed up in the recommended education list, but when I clicked on Ibuprofen the list came up as:

 

Ibuprofen Screen Shot from my Patient Portal

 

Note that Ibuprofen is not at the top of the list and in fact I needed to scroll down below the viewable page to find it. You would think this would be a simple issue of meta tags, links and sorting.

The site is just not well done, not consumer focused and does not provide the information I need to understand my results and what I need to do regarding my health. I know that doctor’s complain about their EMRs and many patients have complained about the poor patient portals.  I guess since I logged in, the hospital met their Meaningful Use requirements, but it sure didn’t meet mine.

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “My Patient Portal and Meaningful Use – for Whom?

  1. It meets the insurance companies criteria and the govt. criteria to get paid.

    • Thanks for the comment Vic and that is also my point… just because it meets some criteria, which in the case of meaningful use, a government standard that has been watered down over the past few years, does not mean its good or in this case meaningful.

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