In a digital world largely focused on convenience, health systems across the nation are responding with online and mobile platforms designed to improve experience. That includes us. UnityPoint Health has a patient portal called MyUnityPoint. Amr Kamhawy, MD, UnityPoint Health, says the tool puts information at your fingertips and improves communication. Plus, recent updates have made it easier than ever to sign up.
“We book airline tickets electronically, bank online and schedule car maintenance on our mobile devices. Our patients expect the same experience when it comes to healthcare,” Dr. Kamhawy says.
Patient portals — secure websites that make medical information more accessible — not only give you more control over your personal medical data, they help us deliver better care.
Through MyUnityPoint, you can do any of the following and more:
• Schedule appointments
• Confidentially message their care team
• Refill prescriptions
• Look for physicians or advanced practitioners in the area
• View test results
Dr. Kamhawy recalls a young professional who scheduled an appointment using MyUnityPoint for an ongoing medical issue. At the time she scheduled, the appointment wasn’t available for another two weeks.
“She signed up for Fast Pass through MyUnityPoint and was notified of an opening after another patient cancelled an appointment. As a result, we were able to get her in on her afternoon off and 12 days earlier than scheduled,” Dr. Kamhawy says.
Recent updates to the portal have made creating an account even easier and more secure with a real-time verification process that protects users from identity theft and fraud. Prior to the update, you needed a verification code to sign-up — but new software eliminates that step. Now, all you need to do is answer a few questions to create an account.
Additionally, another major update — My Visit Notes — was added to the portal’s features. This function, which can only be viewed on a desktop right now, gives you access to your clinic and emergency department notes after a visit. A movement in the health care industry known as “Open Notes,” the feature has been widely adopted by health systems to increase transparency and strengthen communication between clinicians and patients.
Visit notes are valuable for care management because they increase patient follow through with treatment recommendations, and they’re useful in improving care for patients with chronic diseases. Everyone is on the same page, because the people directly involved have access to the same information.
“Scheduling appointments and having the ability to review notes and results online affords people the opportunity to be actively engaged in improving their health and well-being. It also fosters shared decision-making between the care team and the patient,” Dr. Kamhawy says.
Currently, nearly 315,000 people have active MyUnityPoint accounts.