June 6, 2013 By ll

Cleveland Clinic is making patient electronic medical records more accessible to patients by providing secure online access to much of the information stored in their medical files. The move will give patients a more complete picture of their health and allow them to make more informed decisions about their care.

In the current version of MyChart, the secure online patient portal for accessing the Cleveland Clinic EMR, patients can view their after-visit summary, medications list, allergies, immunization records, preventative care details, laboratory results, and radiology reports. If they want to see the rest of their medical records, they must contact the hospital to get hard copies of the EMR.

The new, enhanced version, called MyChart EMR, will give patients nearly complete access to pathology records, x-ray reports, physician notes, and the list of their current health issues, which physicians use to briefly describe a patient’s health status, recent concerns, and known diagnoses. Patients will be able to see nearly everything their doctor sees in their EMR.  Cleveland Clinic believes providing patients with this convenient access to all of their medical data will enable them to play a bigger role in their own care and allow them to better collaborate with their care teams.

“Our 21st century, value-based healthcare delivery system requires that patients are actively engaged in their health and healthcare decision-making,” said Toby Cosgrove, M.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic. “It is our job to provide MyChart-activated patients with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare, under the guidance and expert advice of their physicians.”

Cleveland Clinic has taken several steps over the years to improve patient access to their medical records. Any patient can gain access to hard copies of their complete medical record, and, earlier this year, the reports associated with medical images including MRI, CT, ultrasounds, and mammograms were made available online through MyChart. The EMR system is expected to be fully transparent to the patient sometime next year.

“We have to approach this change carefully and thoughtfully with the input of all involved in order to be sure that patients receive the appropriate, physician-guided education that will ensure they will fully understand the information they will see,” said C. Martin Harris, M.D., chief information officer for Cleveland Clinic. “By enhancing the connection between our patients and their clinicians, we will create new opportunities to use information to more fully engage our patients as active partners in their health and the decisions they make related to the care they receive.”

Beginning this month, Cleveland Clinic will start automatically releasing pathology reports to patients through MyChart.  Patients will have secure online access to both the results and their textual interpretation. There will be a delay built into the release process so that patients will be able to hear the results directly from their physician before logging into MyChart to access them.

The procedure and problem lists and patient notes will be available on MyChartduring the next phases of the transparency rollout later this year and into 2014.

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