Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Tony Sorcic is the kind of guy who likes to stay up on the latest things.
He keeps up with current events. He’s very active in his church. And he stays in touch with friends.
So when Sorcic heard that Marshall Medical Centers was offering a new service that would allow patients to see a portion of their medical record on their home computer, he checked into it. After he was signed up for the Patient Portal through the Health Information department at Marshall North, the 77-year-old was impressed.
“That’s neat,” he said when he saw the screen listing his clinical information back to 2011. “It’s quick and very easy.”
A Patient Portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to their personal health information. It can be used anywhere with an Internet connection using a web browser on your home computer, Smartphone or tablet device.
The information on the portal is from Marshall Medical Centers’ electronic health record. Using a secure username and password, patients can pay their bills online and view a summary of their health records.
“You can see your lab results, pay your bill online…Those are things you can do from the comfort of your home,” said Jeff Stewart of MMC’s Information Technology Department. “You can see how your labs have improved over time.”
Anyone who has been a patient at Marshall North or South or has been there for testing has records on file and can obtain access to the Patient Portal. Simply stop by either of the two hospitals and ask to be directed to the Health Information Management department. Staff there will ask you to sign a consent form, present a form of identification, and then login information will be given to you. If you need help getting started, a staff member will assist you.
When you visit Marshall Medical’s website at www.mmcenters.com, the home page has a Patient Portal button. When you click it, a screen pops up for login and password then takes you inside the portal. You will be asked to enter your name, address, date of birth and email address, followed by a series of security questions.
The portal does not contain the complete medical record. It lists medications, procedures and lab results, such as cholesterol levels from a blood test. It does not include nurses’ notes or doctors’ notes, but it does contain diagnoses.
Patients also may view outstanding balances and make payments using VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Payments made on the portal are immediately reflected on your account.
Sorcic said he likes having the ability to pay hospital bills online, just as he does other bills.
Keeping up with his medical information is very important to Sorcic, who retired in 1995 due to heart issues and recently battled pneumonia. The Sorcics were one of a group of families who moved to Arab from Wisconsin in the early 1970s to work at Cutler-Hammer. His wife Beverly, who passed away just over a year ago, volunteered at the old Arab Hospital. She was a candy striper and helped set up the gift shop when Marshall North was built before being hired to work in purchasing. They have three children and five grandsons in the Arab area.
Sorcic first encountered a patient portal earlier this year during an appointment with his cardiologist in Birmingham. He signed up for that one and found it interesting. Then, after an appointment at Marshall Pulmonary Associates, he learned that office also has a portal, so he signed up for it too. He hopes to see all medical records available in one site eventually for convenience. Stewart said with the increased interest of people wanting access to information online, it’s just a matter of time. Thousands of people who signed up while hospitalized already are on Marshall Medical’s portal, he said.
“More and more people are using it,” Stewart said.
Sorcic said his only concern is privacy so that no one else can get access to his medical records. Stewart assured him that extensive security measures have been built into the portal.
“I will definitely use it,” Sorcic said. “I was very impressed with what was there. It’s very informative. I’m confident enough to use it.”