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Old 10-16-2014, 09:13 AM   #1
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Patient Portal

I got my annual physical a couple days ago.

Near the end, my doctor mentioned I could sign up for the patient portal and get my lab results on the computer, if not then he'd just send the results to me in the mail.

I was a bit hesitant but did sign up and got my results. I was hesitant for two reasons. One, my medical records is just one more thing that now can get stolen if a hackers steals my id/password. Two, now "it's official". I can't use the excuse of just stuffing the paper results in a folder.. (out of sight out of mind ).

Overall, I do like the computerized result. Especially having it show on a chat my levels compared year to year (kind of like a net worth type comparison).

btw .. cholesterol a bit high, glucose ok. For me, just keep exercising and dieting. No meds needed.
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:19 AM   #2
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Our Dr's office has started doing this. After 5 calls for assistance with userid and password issues, They Gave Up, no technical staff when the password they just sent you doesn't work.

I know it's not the staff there as they have no technical people. When I ever get a survey I'll mention my fears that their lack of technology will result in a breach of our medical records.
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Old 10-16-2014, 09:26 AM   #3
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I like our patient portal okay to check appointments mostly. My medical history shown there was recently "Updated" to say I am currently a smoker and have smoked for 30 years (I did smoke for five years but quit on Jan 2, 1975. I will have my dr clear that up next time I see her, but I wonder where that came from). I also see erroneous billing information there that never gets sent out as an actual bill but just disappears on its own. So for me it's somewhat helpful but somewhat not. Not sure who has updating privileges or how much it reflects the medical information the doctors or the billing department see when they look at my full records.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:17 AM   #4
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When my doctor sees me, first thing he does after saying hello is sit down and uses his touch pad as he asks how I'm doing and if there are any changes and such and enters the info in. The electronic updating the first time felt odd (like a doctor using an etch-a-sketch during a session ) but now I'm used to it.

The advantage of my access to the records I think is having the data there to compare year to year. Otherwise, I have the tendency to just shove the paperwork in a filing folder in a drawer and not look at that again. Much easier to have that as a pdf file (I personally encrypt the file) on my computer.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
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Kaiser Permanente has had this for years. In 2007 my husband was at urgent care with my son and they were ordering a boatload of tests. He and I were communicating by cell phone - and I was getting the lab results before him - (he had to wait for the doctor after the lab work.) That was very useful.

Some things are still old school snail mail. Kaiser hasn't figured out how to post mammogram results online... (Had one yesterday.) And it seems like any path results don't get posted online. (Had an sebacious cyst cultured a few months ago.)

I don't worry about getting internet access to my personal records as increasing my risk of being hacked - the information is already networked and other people have access into the network for their records, doctors have access in, etc... Adding access to YOU for your records doesn't increase the risk.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:07 PM   #6
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I had the same thought about the information is already networked and people have my records digitally already. The thought is by keeping records on my PC (I like a downloaded version for my records as who know how often websites make changes to "new and improved" and change things around) is just more information out there. But keeping a habit of encrypting, I feel fine.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:46 PM   #7
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Currently most DRs offices are on private networks. There's a great deal of difference between securing a private network vs. an Internet exposed network. You just don't put in a DMZ and walk away. I've seen large organizations spend a year or more planning for the risks of Internet exposure.

Course maybe that doesn't matter. My data was safe at Target and Home Depot too.

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Old 10-16-2014, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Currently most DRs offices are on private networks. There's a great deal of difference between securing a private network vs. an Internet exposed network. You just don't put in a DMZ and walk away. I've seen large organizations spend a year or more planning for the risks of Internet exposure.


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I suspect that most practices using patient portals have outsourced this to an external provider who does this kind of high-security system as a core business. The HIPAA risks are just too high for non-specialists to run the system. Exceptions would be major research hospitals like the Mayo Clinic, perhaps.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:31 PM   #9
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We sort of have that here, I signed up for it since the data is already online anyway. As implemented it is definitely not ready for prime time and I can't find anything useful so I don't use it.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #10
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I suspect that most practices using patient portals have outsourced this to an external provider who does this kind of high-security system as a core business. The HIPAA risks are just too high for non-specialists to run the system. Exceptions would be major research hospitals like the Mayo Clinic, perhaps.
Thank you, that makes sense. I was picturing the nice lady that does billing and helps with internal tech support(need a new mouse kinda issue) was now expected to be a skilled network and security deployment expert.

By outsourcing the portal, they hire the expertise in networking, HIPPA laws/audits, and control over what data are available.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:39 AM   #11
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I like having my medical records available online but what a PITA to get the darn thing working. There are a lot of restrictions on medical info so it is no wonder that the portals can be a PITA. I look forward to a day when the info can be made quickly and seamlessly available to any doctor we choose and more importantly be made readily and fully available to us as we see fit.
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