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Patrick Springer, Published March 16 2012

Essentia to offer patient records online

FARGO – Patients at Essentia Health soon will be able to go online to check their lab test results, check their kids’ immunizations or request an appointment with their doctor.

MyHealth, Essentia’s patient gateway to an electronic medical records system, launches March 22 for its locations in Fargo-Moorhead, Jamestown, N.D., Wahpeton, N.D., and Park Rapids, Minn.

“It’s very good information for patients to help them get more involved with their own care,” said Kay Larson, vice president of clinic operations for Essentia in Fargo. “We’re excited about it.”

The patient portal is available at no added cost to patients, and their information is protected, said Dr. Joel Haugen, a family practice physician who has a leading role in the initiative.

“It will provide a secure portal or messaging system that will enhance patient communication,” he said.

The ability for a patient to send an electronic message to a doctor is for those who already have an established relationship with the physician, Larson said.

That ability can help patients avoid the “phone tag” problem in reaching their doctor.

“It’s going to be a different form of communication,” Larson said. “If you need an urgent response, this is not an appropriate form for that.”

MyHealth already is available for Essentia patients in the Duluth, Minn., area, and the service has been popular, Larson said.

“They’re wanting that access,” she added. “Of course, it’s going to depend on how computer savvy they are.”

Besides checking medical test results, patients can use the program to maintain an updated medication list and monitor health trends over time, such as weight, blood pressure or diabetes blood tests.

Patients will be able to register when they visit the clinic or go online. Because of federal patient privacy laws, they must sign a consent form.

For more information about Essentia’s MyHealth program, call (701) 364-8000 or visit www.Essentia

MyHealth.org.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522