Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 28, 2010

MHS Portal to Help Patients Take Charge of Their Health

By Krista Holyak

January 28, 2010 - The Military Health System plans to help its patients engage more actively in their health care by way of the forthcoming online MHS Patient Portal. The portal will activate patient participation in his or her health care experience, support patient-health care team interaction, and provide efficiencies for the enterprise.

“The concept is to be able to empower and bring choice to the patients in ways they can actively engage in their health care,” said Army Col. Thomas Greig of DoD Health Affairs at the 2010 MHS Conference Jan. 27.

The MHS Patient Portal will provide health-care-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their providers and manage their own health activities. The portal will support the MHS information management/information technology (IM/IT) strategic plan’s mission of healthy and resilient individuals, families, and communities. “It’s one of the top 10 goals in the IM/IT strategy,” said Greig.

One key component of the MHS Patient Portal will be the DoD’s personal health record (PHR), MiCare. The PHR allows patients to take more responsibility for health care needs and make patients and providers interactive partners in the health care encounter. The PHR includes information such as allergies, medications, lab and radiology results and inpatient/outpatient records.

“MiCare is about choices. It is an enabler,” said Richard Barnhill, Madigan Army Medical Center, also at the conference. “PHRs give a lot of power to the patient.”

The MHS Patient Portal will be more than a PHR. It provides multiple ways for patients to obtain care within the MHS and aggregates data to one central location. It provides benefits to patients, providers, and military treatment facilities.

Barnhill said that the portal's capabilities will eventually include secure patient-provider messaging, self-appointing, family history, and health trackers. The MHS is also working to include electronic health record clinical data, patient-entered information and device-acquired data to the PHR.

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