Digital Health from a Healthcare Perspective (Part 6)
The first part: “MyChart” One App for All Personal Health Records
What is Mobile Personal Health?
A Physician's Insight into “MyChart” as a Patient
I am currently living in the U.S., and soon after arriving in the U.S., I had the opportunity to use a smartphone application called “MyChart” (after this referred to as “the app”). When I called the hospital to make an appointment for my first visit, I was told, “All you need to do is download the app, make an appointment, exchange medical questions, and send my past medical records.”
I immediately downloaded and opened the app and found that it facilitates the management of appointments, medical interviews, and e-mails to the office and doctors. Using the app, I changed my appointment, sent past test results, and sent requests for what I wanted to see the doctor about. It also serves as medication records, as it allows the user to view records written by the doctor after the visit and see the details of prescriptions. Furthermore, a function will enable the previous examination results to be uploaded and displayed on the smartphone screen when you have forgotten about it.
Functions of “MyChart”
Representative features of “MyChart” are as follows(1).
1. Schedule and attend video interviews with healthcare professionals
2. Send e-mails to medical staff
3. Requests prescription renewal
4. Schedule of return visits
5. View test results
6. View medical history
7. Access to online medical consultation
Advantages and Disadvantages of “MyChart”
The most significant advantage of “MyChart” is the ability to view your medical information at any time. Have you ever had an experience where you thought you understood what the doctor said at the outpatient clinic, but after returning home, you are not sure what the doctor said? At such times, looking back on the medical record is helpful.
Secondly, it helps make sure you don’t forget to check the results. Even if you do not have severe disease, some parameters need to be checked regularly, but you may not go to the doctor immediately to check the results. In Japan, it is usually impossible to inquire about the results over the phone due to privacy concerns. Waiting for hours at an outpatient clinic to confirm a single result is extremely painful (and as a doctor, having patients waiting for a long time is also painful). With this app, when test results are sent, a message pops up, so you can always check the results.
The system also allows patients to exchange messages with physicians and medical staff members, such as requests for consultation details and previously discussed questions over the phone, so that patients, physicians, and medical staff can efficiently prepare for the day of visit with each other. If a hospital has introduced this system, it is also very convenient to have the medical record information of several hospitals in one account.
The disadvantages of this system include the need to manage passwords and the difficulty for people who are not familiar with smartphones and computers. According to our research, such applications have been developed in the U.S., South Korea, and other countries. In South Korea, a study on the use of apps found a high use rate among women under 50 years old(2). In the same research, we also found that the number of users increased as the app was upgraded. Therefore, we believe that the challenge is to add innovations that make it easier to use regardless of age.
The Usefulness of Mobile Personal Health from Electronic Health Records
“MyChart” is commonly referred to as a mobile personal health system or the patient's version of an electronic health record (after this referred to as “EHR”).
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