While many consumers remain skeptical of personal health records, advocates say these tools can help patients manage medical data and interact with doctors. Here's a look at nine popular PHR offerings.
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MyChart, from Epic Systems, gives patients controlled access to the same Epic medical records their doctors use, and it provides convenient self-service functions that Epic executives say reduce costs and increase satisfaction. Because MyChart is integrated with the EMR, it's easy for patients to get involved in their own healthcare. These self-serve online functions allow patients to take an active role in their care and reduce the costs of providing service, Epic says. Patients also have the ability to view test results, view problem-based educational materials, schedule appointments, request refills, pay bills securely, view a child's records and print growth charts, as well as manage the care of elderly parents.
Unlike MyChart, Epic's freestanding PHR Lucy is not connected to any facility's electronic medical record system. Lucy puts interoperability under the control of patients. Records stored in Lucy are not tethered to any facility's electronic medical record system. Instead, they stay with patients--accessible from a thumb drive or online via browser--wherever they receive care. Patients can enter health data directly into Lucy, pull in data from multiple MyChart accounts, or upload standards-compliant Continuity of Care Documents from non-Epic facilities. Epic's Care Everywhere software can also retrieve documents from Lucy, making this information available for review as part of the electronic chart. Also, Lucy is free of two significant obstacles to patient PHR adoption. It includes no advertisements, and Epic will not sell patient data stored on it for secondary uses.