Connecting Patients to Physician’s Offices Electronically
Let face it, listening to a busy signal, remaining on hold or navigating through voice messaging systems are still common frustrations many of us experience when calling our physician’s office. Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC) recently implemented a patient portal to help alleviate these issues by giving patients the opportunity to communicate with their physician’s office online via a home computer or Smartphone.
According to Debra Sargeant, electronic medical records manager/coordinator, WMCHC, “The portal is a free, secure messaging system which delivers information via an encrypted connection, making patient health information safe from unauthorized access.”
The following tasks--previously only available through a direct phone call--can be accomplished through the patient portal: requesting an appointment, renewing prescriptions, requesting test results, completing a patient survey, asking a billing question, updating personal or insurance information as well as asking non-urgent health questions.
“Our goal is to respond to requests no later than the end of the day during regular operating hours,” stated Sargeant. However, she stressed patients making late Friday afternoon and weekend requests should not expect a reply until the following Monday.
Signing-up for the WMCHC Patient Portal account is easy. Patients simply provide their email address to the office staff and agree to join the portal. This can be done by calling the office at anytime or during the next scheduled appointment. An e-invite with instructions on setting up an account is sent to their personal email within 24 hours. The process takes no more than five minutes. Accounts can then be accessed 24/7 via the internet and/or downloading a free Smartphone app. Patients who have already provided an email address, but have not set up an account should call their physician’s office to request that a new e-invite be sent.
Nearly all of WMCHC’s primary care, women’s health and some specialty practices are utilizing the patient portal. These include: Honesdale Family Health Center, Northern Wayne Family Health Center, Pike Family Health Center, Waymart Family Health Center, Carbondale Family Health Center, Hamlin Family Health Center, Honesdale Surgical Associates, Dr. Sean McVeigh’s Office, as well as all Women’s Health Centers located in Honesdale, Lords Valley, Hamlin, Waymart and Vandling.
Wayne Memorial Hospital, of which WMCHC is a clinical affiliate, has its own independent patient portal called myWMH. Because the physician offices and hospital maintain different data sets using different software it is necessary for those who are patients of both Wayne Memorial Hospital and a WMCHC physician’s office sign up for both separately.
For more information or questions regarding a WMCHC Patient Portal Account, call 570-251-6553 or visit us at www.wmh.org/WMCHC and click on the Patient Portal Tab.
Photo: Debra Sargeant, WMCHC’s EMR manager/coordinator, views a screen of the Patient Portal, an online messaging system that allows patients and their physician’s office staff to communicate electronically.