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    Patient Portal – Have You Signed Up?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 20th, 2020

    Patient Portal – Have You Signed Up?

    I am on a mission. I would like everyone that I know to sign up on their patient portal.  I truly believe that it is one way that we can start to close the gap in health care.  As it stands now, there is a digital divide. The people less likely to take advantage of the patient portal are African-Americans and the elderly.  IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A PATIENT PORTAL AND YOU ARE NOT TAKING ADVANTANGE OF IT, YOU ARE MISSING AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH.

    A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients a convenient 24 hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet  connection. Using a secure username and password, you can view your health information and do many other things.  The patient portal is called different names depending on which electronic health record system your physician uses. My patient portal is called MyChart.

    On the portal:

    • You have the ability to look at your health records to make sure that they are accurate.
    • Check your lab results and look at trends – you can see if things are improving or not.
    • Request prescription refills.
    • Schedule non-urgent appointments.
    • Update your contact information.
    • View educational material on your medical condition.
    • Communicate with your physician – this is extremely important. Typically it is a nurse that will see your message first and make a decision if it needs to be seen by the physician. If you really want the physician to see the message, just mention in the note – “please make sure that the physician sees this note”.
    • Schedule telehealth visit.

    You do not need a computer to sign up. Your smart phone can do the job. If you have neither, you can access a computer in your public library (I know this is difficult with COVID).  If technology is a barrier, inform your health care practitioner.  Technology can be scary especially if you are older. Unfortunately, technology is not going away.  Use the young people in your life to assist you.  Sometimes people sign up and forget their password. Use a password that you will remember.

    If you already have access to your portal, I hope you are taking advantage of all that is has to offer. If you have never signed up for the patient portal, please sign up the next time you see your health care provider. As a physician, I tell my patients that the quickest way to reach me is through the patient portal and I am not alone.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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