URBANA — Patients of Carle Foundation Hospital and physician group will be able to begin accessing their own medical records online, starting Feb. 6.
Carle has been letting its employees test the system, called MyCarle, for the past couple months and has had a great response, said Dr. William Schuh, Carle's chief medical information officer.
Patients signing up for the new system can use it to view their lab results — both current and going back about a decade — along with their past and future appointments, insurance coverage, hospital discharge instructions, medications, their medical, surgical and family histories, immunizations, allergies and doctor visit summaries.
They'll also get emails when new information is added, Schuh said.
Parents will also be able to sign up to access medical records of their children under age 12. Adults can access records for their children 12 and older, spouses and elderly parents, but need their signed consent, due to patient privacy laws, he said.
For security purposes, patients will only be able to sign up for this system in person at Carle, Schuh said. They'll be given log-in instructions and register with their password and user name at home, he said.
For further security, when users access their records, they won't actually be accessing Carle's record system, he said.
"The portal itself isn't in the patient's records. We have our electronic medical records on our own server and the patient portal isn't in that system," he said.
Even if someone could gain access to someone else's portal, access couldn't be gained to the rest of Carle's records system, Schuh said.
Christie Clinic, which launched its own online patient record access system, IC-MyHealthRecord, in 2006, has a similar security system in place, said Mary Hubbard, the clinic's manager of health information services.
"They're not accessing Christie's record system," she said. "They're accessing information that is pushed to a secure port."
It's comparable to banking security, she says.
Christie currently has 13,000 patients enrolled in this system, Hubbard said.
"We are pleased with IC-MyHealthRecord and the growth in patient enrollment," she said in an email. "It provides patients the opportunity to receive and view diagnostic test results in a timely fashion, request appointments with their providers, and monitor their health history. It is important to Christie Clinic to provide our patients with the opportunity to use technology as a resource to manage their health care."
Schuh said giving patients online access to their records is a service he thinks patients in a technology-savvy community like Champaign-Urbana will embrace.
"I think we're an ideal community for this kind of technology," he said.
Carle's new MyCarle site will be available at http://www.mycarle.com . Patients can call 326-4001 for assistance signing up 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Carle spokesman Sean Williams said.