Request an Appointment and Send Your Record Using a PHR

I recently sat down with Jeff Donnell from NoMoreClipboard. We had a fascinating all around conversation, but one of the most fascinating things he told me was the story of his last visit to his doctor’s office. I’ll do my best to recount what he told me.

When he decided he needed to go see the doctor for a visit his wife suggested that he call the doctor to make an appointment. Of course, Jeff “eats his own dog food” and decided that instead of calling for an appointment, he’d request an appointment through NoMoreClipboard. So, he logged into his account and sent off the request for an appointment with his PHR attached. Pretty interesting idea no?

Don’t ask me why, but when possible I’d much rather request something through my computer. Maybe it’s sitting on hold while you wait to talk to someone that’s turned me off to the phone call, but the idea that I could request an appointment online even if the doctor isn’t on NoMoreClipboard is a pretty attractive feature for a PHR.

Of course, since Jeff’s doctor wasn’t on NoMoreClipboard, his appointment request and health record were faxed to his doctor’s office. He got a call from the doctor and scheduled his appointment. The story certainly doesn’t end there.

When he arrived at the doctor’s office he wondered if they’d have his record or not. They handed him the standard clipboard to fill out all the paperwork. He still said nothing and dutifully filled out the paperwork. No one said anything about the record he’d sent until he was with the doctor and the doctor realized that Jeff was the one that sent in his PHR. I guess it was the talk of the office when that fax came in.

Obviously, the idea of requesting an appointment and faxing in your health record using a PHR still has a ways to go. In fact, NoMoreClipboard’s goal is to work with doctor’s offices like these so that the office gets the person’s health record on the forms that the doctor’s are use to getting it on. I think that’s a smart strategy. Not to mention the idea of the patients driving their doctors to use and work with a PHR provider. I think they call that Word of Mouth advertising right?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while when I recently talked with someone from Microsoft’s HealthVault division. I quite frankly asked this gentleman why I should use a PHR. Obviously, if I was a patient with a chronic or complicated illness I could see a compelling use case. However, what’s the use case that will drive and motivate healthy individuals to use a PHR. So far I really haven’t heard a good answer.

Requesting an appointment and not having to fill out that same lengthy cumbersome paperwork is the closest I’ve thought of.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

10 Comments

  • “Don’t ask me why, but when possible I’d much rather request something through my computer.”

    The nice thing about doing it this way is that it becomes an asynchronous communication — You no longer have to worry about whether it’s after hours, during the office’s lunch hour, whether the person who answers the phone can help you, etc. Secureach has the same idea, but for lab results. (See http://www.secureachsystems.com/ )

  • I think there’s plenty of good reason to have access to your patient record, whether it’s in the form of a PHR or a pdf of your historical documents to which you append regularly.

    The number of medical errors that occur every year in the US and Canada is startling. It’s said that 30% of the deaths caused by medical error could have been avoided had the patient record been there at the point of care.

    When you think about it, the patient is truly the only person who has the ability to convey a 360 degree view of their health and healthcare providers. That doesn’t mean they can communicate it, but they can convey it. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this: Does your family doctor know what naturopathic supplements you pick up from your local pharmacy, which potentially can be interacting negatively with your prescribed medications?

    Until the day of truly interoperable electronic medical records, we each have a duty to ourselves to be proactive about our healthcare management. And once fully interoperable EMR is in place, patients will still play an important role to ensure that the right decisions are being in their best interest.

  • Elan,
    The problem is what value does a PHR add for a healthy individual that takes no meds. Even if it’s a few things, then I can just rattle them off when I go.

    Sure, once we have good interoperability, that’s another story. I’m talking about right now. That’s hard when you’re not a chronic patient.

  • It’s a good question John. And I think the simple answer is that today, 1 out of every 2 Americans have a chronic health condition – some obviously more serious than others. That’s a lot of people with something that impacts their lives daily. As for the “healthier”, there are still numerous areas where access to your medical history and current “picture” becomes quite important. Consider these: How many people know their blood type by heart? Which vaccinations have you had, and when? When were you last tested for ___________? How about someone with a heart murmur (very common), whose EKG looks abnormal all the time? Unless that person can access a baseline reading for comparison, an emergency room attendant might see cause for intervention after viewing a new one.

    The reasons for a PHR and / or for patient access to their current and historical medical documents go on and on – regardless of their state of health. It’s an important insurance piece in this day of information kept in multiple silos.
    We’ve found that our service of providing compliant storage and scanning of medical records and facilitating the transfer of the information both to patients as well as to new healthcare providers has been nothing short of invaluable to patient and doctor alike… Yes!… Even for those patients without chronic health conditions.

  • The value of a PHR depends on its features. Is it convenient, easy-to-use, remote, affortable, interoperable, mult-functional, secure and owned by the consumer. The consumer will determine the value. As for a healthy individual that takes no meds. The value is significant during a personal medical emergency or disaster event. A mobile PHR with QR code technology will display vital medical data ” at the scene”. So for the jogger who gets hit by a car and is unconscious, the first responder will know who they are ( photo), be able to call their emergency contacts, have the phone number of their physician and better yet, securely transmit the data to the designated ER BEFORE the victim arrives! Value=Empowerment. For me value is when our technology solution has a direct impact on the number of medical errors that occur every year in the US. 30% of the deaths caused by medical error could have been avoided when the patient record is available at the point of care. We took this a bit further and will get it there BEFORE point of service!

  • Jerry,
    My point is that if I’m healthy, there would be nothing to transmit. Which doesn’t give me much value in having a PHR. I don’t have any allergies, any meds, and chronic conditions, etc. Maybe I’m the exception.

  • John,
    Your “loved ones” would be alerted via, text, e-mail or phone that you were involved in a personal medical emergency and be informed where you are being treated before you arrive at anytime, day or night . The ER doctor would know the name of your doctor and phone number. This mobile health technology solution is no ordinary PHR has other valuable features. I am beginning to sound like a salesman so I better stop….

  • Notify family. Hmm…not a bad feature at all. Not really a PHR feature, but useful and interesting nonetheless.

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