Barbara Bell no longer has to wait for results of blood tests. If she wants those or other medical information, along with refilling prescriptions, they’re just a few clicks away.
Bell, who lives in Churchill, participates in MyChart, which is offered to clients of the Allegheny Health Network. She’s thrilled at having such access. The retired special education teacher likes having immediate answers to her healthy questions.
“I use it all the time to review my test results,” Bell says.
While she has not used it, she says another benefit for patients is the same day appointment service also available online through the Allegheny Health Network.
Getting back to MyChart, she enjoys having her medical history in moments.
“I’ve had certain medications for rheumatoid arthritis, so I have to have frequent blood tests just to monitor the effect of those,” Bell says. “I use MyChart to track them over time and monitor them. I usually get my results before my doctor contacts me.
It’s easy to register with MyChart through the Allegheny Health Network, she says.
“When you have your first appointment with the network, the physician’s office gives you the opportunity to sign up for MyChart,” she says. “You get a temporary password, then you create your own account and your own password.”
She likes being able to communicate with her doctor’s office, request refills for prescriptions, view health records and check preventive schedule due dates and appointment summaries. You can pay bills or request an appointment.
“It’s very convenient,” she says. “I use it to communicate things that are not of an urgent nature. Or sometimes I get a blood test back and the specialist may say ‘This is a little high, get in touch with your doctor.’ So, I do that through e-mail,” Bell says.
“One of the features they just added is to move a primary care appointment up, so if you’re scheduled for a routine primary care appointment and you want something sooner, you can go in and put it on the fast care list. When something opens, they’ll notify you and you can except the new one.”
Before Bell began using MyChart, it meant dealing with a lot of paper records.
“This way I can view the actual numbers on my blood work and not get a letter than says everything is fine,” she says. “I can see if there are numbers I’m concerned about, I can e-mail the doctor to see if there is something to be concerned about or not.”
She has yet to use the video visit, but the e-visit is online messaging. “When I e-mail them, they always get back to me,” she says.
Asked if she sees any drawbacks to MyChart, Bell says “not at all.”
Each time you do make an office visit, you receive an appointment summary that covers “what we talk about, medications, the next appointment and what I need to do before that,” she says. “You can also ask for that on MyChart.”
Another perk is refilling prescription medications on MyChart.
While she has yet to use the Same Day Appointment Service, she does like the features that allow users, provided they call before 11 a.m., to get an appointment that afternoon. If you call after 11 a.m. on weekends, or if you call during the weekend, you’ll get an appointment as soon as possible.
The same day service is good for primary care physicians, although you may not get your usual PCP, along with most specialists. Over 20 specialties are available for the same day appointments, including heart care, cancer care and women’s health, to name a few.
Bell and MyChart stress that if someone is injured or urgently ill, it’s best to call 911 or visit the local hospital’s emergency room.
“I’m just very happy they have MyChart,” Bell says. “I’d recommend it. It makes my life so much easier.”