Patients managing their own healthcare online is the future says a Bay of Plenty GP – and the future is here.
Dr Marshall Hollister-Jones, of Tauranga's Chadwick Healthcare, says his practice has been offering the ManageMyHealth website (by which patients can access their personal health records) for five years.
“I've been a vocal supporter of this technology locally for some time.
“We have over 2000 people registered and that number is increasing all the time.
“It's turning patients from being passive recipients to being partners in, and driving, their own care. That means they are much more active and engaged. It's a significant shift and leads to better results for the patients. It's what the future will look like.”
Through the secure website patients can access information on things like: medications; diagnoses; immunisations history; test results; reminders – e.g. for your flu jab; booking appointments; lodging queries; changes in treatment. Enrolled patients simply have to sign up for the service.
And if you've ever closed your GP's door and immediately thought ‘Now what did he say again?' then ManageMyHealth can help.
Chadwick Healthcare has become the first practice regionally to upload records of all doctor's visits onto the website.
“The doctor's notes will be available after each appointment so patients can refer back to them,” says Marshall.
“Patients often have difficulty recalling the details of a consultation, so a written record provides a reminder, especially around agreed management plans or medication changes. It also offers a safety-net, in case the doctor has overlooked something. It's all about transparency and doing what's best for the patient.”
Kate and Jim Cater, who are Chadwick patients, say the website has already proven its worth in this and many other ways.
“Jim was given instructions by his skin specialist for treating a skin cancer,” says Kate.
“He either did not hear them or had so much to take in that he didn't follow the instructions. When he read the specialist's letter to the GP online he immediately realised what he should be doing.
“Often at the doctor there is a lot of information to take in and it's easy to miss something. Having the facility to check is important, and must be particularly so for people who have difficult conditions/multiple medications/input from several professionals, etc.”
Kate and Jim even changed practices so they could access ManageMyHealth.
“We actually moved doctors because we wanted to have this facility. Our previous doctor was wonderful in every other way but didn't offer ManageMyHealth so we decided to move to somewhere that did.
“Online is the way we do everything these days, shop online, bank online. So it just seems a logical progression to manage your health online. It saves everyone's time.”