URBANA — Carle Foundation Hospital and Physician Group have added two new features to their electronic medical records system and hope to boost the number of patients using it.
Patients were already able to access their lab results and other pieces of their own medical information through the secure system, called MyCarle. Now they can also use the system to pay their bills and make appointment requests, according to Dr. William Schuh, the Carle Foundation's chief medical information officer.
As of this month, 29,000 Carle patients — about 13 percent — are using the system, Schuh said.
But the more people having more access to their medical information the better, he says.
"They'll be more engaged and take better care of themselves, because they'll be more part of the process," he added.
The percentage of users may not be as high as Carle would like because some people may be unaware of some of the features, Schuh speculates.
For example, he said, there are apps available to access the system on smartphones that only hundreds of patients are using: Just 381 Carle patients are using the system for iPhone and 175 for Android phones, he said.
You can't see all of your records on the MyCarle system — for example, you can see reports on your X-rays but not the actual X-rays, and you can see summaries of your care but not the physicians actual notes — but you can view a lot, Schuh said. That includes information on immunizations, allergies, medical history, insurance coverage, lab results, details of past and upcoming appointments, and instructions from doctors.
"The convenience is such that I can't imagine anybody saying, 'No, I don't want to find out the results of my test or what my medications doses are,'" Schuh said.
Coming up in the fall: Carle plans to add another feature that will allow patients to communicate directly and securely with their doctors through the MyCarle system, Schuh says.
Carle says patients can sign up for the system at carle.org/mycarle or by calling 326-4001.