Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

DCH Health System Offers Medical Records Online Via MyDCH Website

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

DCH Health System Offers Medical Records Online Via MyDCH Website

Article excerpt

Patients who received care at any of the DCH Health System's four hospitals can now obtain lab results, radiology reports, medication instructions and other important health records electronically if they have access to the Internet.

The MyDCH Patient Portal is a website to help patients gain instant access to their information. Launched by the DCH Health System this spring, it's part of a nationwide effort to make electronic medical records easily obtainable by the patients.

"The government would like to see patients take more interest and responsibility in maintaining their own health," said Kim Ligon, chief information officer for the DCH Health System. "If you don't know about it, you can't do anything about it. But if you have access to look at (medical records and health information) then the hope is that you will be more engaged and take care of yourself."

Since February, more than 4,500 patients have signed up for the MyDCH patient portal. As part of the federal requirements, hospitals are required to make their electronic records available to patients. Hospitals are required to get 5 percent of their patients signed up and continue an active pool of patients who use the electronic tool, said Brad Fisher, spokesman for the DCH Health System.

The information comes directly from the patient's electronic health records. Complete records are not available via the portal, but patients can still see discharge information, see all of their lab results, a history dating back to 1991 showing all visits to the hospital, and a general health summary. Allergies, immunizations and medications are also shown. Patients can also check to see if they are scheduled for an appointment or surgery, Ligon said.

The information helps patients who have chronic health problems or people who are care-givers for loved ones such as spouses or parents, said Pam Pitts, the administrative director of health information management for DCH.

"A lot of us are at the age where we are dealing with aging parents," Pitts said. "Grown children can become a proxy to help their parents with their health care decisions."

To become a proxy for an adult, the patient has to sign a proxy form and submit a copy of the patient's driver's license, either through regular mail or by email, Ligon said. …

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