By MATT BLOIS
Patients at Community Health Systems facilities will now be able to access their health records through an application on the iPhone.
Patients select the medical facility where they were treated from within the health app, and use a username and password to download their medical information.
A directory from Apple already lists hundreds of providers, including several large hospital chains, that can provide health records to the health app. Now, about 100 CHS hospitals will be able to share health records through the app.
CHS, which is headquartered in Franklin, owns or operates about 106 hospitals in 18 states.
CHS Chief Medical Officer Lynn Simon said allowing patients to view medical records from multiple facilities on their phone solves a big problem
“How do you get a patients records in one place, in their actual hand so that if they have a medical emergency — or if they’re just going to see their doctor — their records and history are convenient for them, convenient to share with a doctor?” she said.
Previously, patients who received care at multiple faculties would have had to log on to web portals for each different facility to view medical records. The health app allows them to see it all in one place.
Lynn said her husband had run into this problem. He received care in several different cities. Now he can see the results from all of those visit on his phone.
One 2018 study of a healthcare system near Washington DC found that only about 20 percent of patients who received treatment activated a web portal account to look up medical records.
A survey from the National Cancer Institute found that about 28 percent of patients viewed their health records online in 2017.
Simon hopes that making the information available on a phone will push those numbers up at CHS facilities.
“It’s really nice because in one spot there’s everything,” she said. “Just from personal experience. That’s so much easier than trying to log into the portals.”
Simon said CHS is working with groups like the Center for Medical Interoperability — a nonprofit group in Nashville seeking to simplify data sharing among medical technologies — to keep improving access to medical records.
Health records sent to a phone are encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID.