Meaningless Use: Pediatric portal example

I love my family’s pediatrician. He’s an old school guy who keeps up with the literature, is a great diagnostician, has an informative and comforting manner, and uses the hospital system’s medical records and phone calls to track the progress of his sicker patients as they deal with specialists. He’s available for a call-in hour every morning.

The practice’s patient portal from eClinicalWorks is another matter. The “PHR-View” has tabs for Allergies, Vitals and Immunizations. The information appears to be complete, which is nice, but where is the standard form that I need for school, camp, etc? It’s nowhere to be found and I have confirmed with the practice that it isn’t available. The practice doesn’t like to use the secure message system, which anyway doesn’t allow attachments.

Bottom line? I obtain the forms the same way I did close to 20 years ago: Call the practice and ask them to fax the form. They are always happy to do it, but it seems a little silly. Surely we can expect more from patient and family portals in 2015.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

3 thoughts on “Meaningless Use: Pediatric portal example”

  1. I believe you are seeing a side effect of the adoption of electronic medical records. I had a similar experience with Patient Gateway, which transformed from being straightforward and easy to follow to a huge, complicated monster of a website.

    The electronic medical record is a worthy concept but many implementations are remarkably complicated, making them a nuisance for all users. They also increase the opportunities for error by practitioners.

    I predict it will only be a matter of time before lawyers with dollar signs in their eyes bring huge lawsuits against doctors, hospitals and software companies for medical errors caused by complex electronic medical record applications.

  2. Good post, David. This is exactly what happens when companies build software to address a government mandate, as opposed to when companies build software to address a consumer need.

  3. “The practice doesn’t like to use the secure message system, which anyway doesn’t allow attachments.”

    I’m not sure any info communication system can be of much value when the hash of “security” and “privacy” requirements, legislated and otherwise, riddles them with so many obstacles and makes usage the communication analog of root canal.

    We all only know we have vague fears about ‘abuse’ of health information. We need to have plain conversation about the architecture of permissions (hate that phrase already) for usage of health information, and what can practically be done to stifle bad actions and bad actors. Without that, David will forever be requesting faxed camp forms from his pediatrician, and that’s all he or we will ever get.

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