Saturday, November 22, 2014

Patient Portals, Doctors on Skype - Technology Working for You

Skype a doctor to get a prescription
Around $25

Note:This article is a spin off from a letter I wrote which was published in the Opinions Section of the Tuscaloosa News, November 14, 2014, Printed and online. *

Patient Portals, Doctors on Skype -- Technology Working for You

A day before undergoing emergency surgery at DCH Regional Medical Center for a broken wrist, pre-screening had several forms for me to sign. There was a new form I had never seen before. It was titled “Patient Portal.” I could gain access to my own medical records from DCH for the several years I have used them for labs, other tests. I wasted no time signing up. Now that I have, I am able to read, in detail, reports and test results I had forgotten about. 

For example, an MRI on my spine was taken five years ago and the results got me thinking I might need a DEXA scan, which measures bone density. It had been exactly six years since my last one noted osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. That result together with my surgeon’s suspicion that I may have osteoporosis brought me to communicate this concern to my doctor. I signed the “portal” papers at that facility, as well.  

I had no idea how this patient portal law was initiated and by whom. It came as a positive surprise that the Affordable Health Care Act, Obamacare, was responsible. I hadn’t a clue. According to law, physicians’ offices and hospitals must have portals set up by 2015. While docs and patients have a daunting task to catch up to the technological advances and costs, I see an improving health care system in the works.  

Recently, I found out the results of my DEXA scan did not indicate Osteopororis, although Osteopenia remains. Furthermore my bone density has improved from the last test, so i'll stay on my exercise regiment and take one Calcium pill with Vitamin D3 daily.
Health innovators are coming up with even more ways to connect and communicate with patients, health care providers and families . One of those paths, besides the Patient Portals, includes doctor visits on a one to one video call via Skype.  

These  professional may offer a prescription or some good advice on how you might proceed. Prescriptions would not include narcotics.  The "visit" might cost around $25. It's a good first step if you can't get out and/or don't know what to do or where to go, or wonder how serious your condition might become without getting medical treatment. Is it an emergency or have you come down with a bad cold? 

Take your health seriously. 

References: . go to features 
Check with a medical facility to see how to access a video chat with a doctor.