Better Access to Your Health Information
Over the last few weeks, our dedicated staff collected over 1,200 specimens for PCR testing for COVID-19. We shared that those who tested positive would be contacted directly and those with negative tests would receive their results on the SVMC Hospital Patient Portal. For many of you the portal is completely new, so I wanted to share how to use the portal and what the benefits are both now and in the future.
We already know that well-designed technology can help us improve our organization and make better use of our time. Today’s patients are also more involved in their healthcare and want to work closely with their providers when making decisions that directly affect them. Having a health portal allows patients access their information in real time, rather than waiting for a call from their provider or needing to take time to request results from the office or medical records department.
Your health portal is secure, and great measures are taken to protect your privacy. This includes setting your account with an ID, password, and security questions, enabling a time-out feature for open accounts with no user activity and a secure “one-time use” URL when you are logged into your account. (This prevents your portal link from being copied and shared.) You may be asked to verify your identity before receiving tech support for an account and medical record access will be restricted if it has been determined that an account has been compromised.
Once established, your portal is a powerful tool. You can view lab results as soon as they are available in your medical record. With most routine labs, you can also view your historical results to compare information. Imaging reports are available 72 hours after completion, and you can view your discharge information from ER visits or admissions. In addition, you can access SVMC’s online bill pay and print off important forms for upcoming appointments.
To be auto-enrolled in the hospital health portal, you must have a valid email address on file in your electronic medical record. For users that try to enroll without an email address, your request will go into a queue where we will update your account within 24 hours.
For users that manage the health of others, proxy access is available with some limitations. Aging parents can give proxy permission for their adult children and parents with children age 0 - 11 can request proxy access for their records. Children between the ages of 12 and 17 are restricted from the portal due to state laws, but parents can still request information through our Release of Information department.
For patients who mainly see only their primary care provider or a specialist, our SVMC providers have a separate health portal where you can access office visit information, send secure messages to the provider, and request prescription refills.
Health portals are not a requirement for our patients, but many find them a quick and convenient way to stay informed. As always, any decisions or changes in your healthcare, medications, or health routines, should always be discussed with your primary provider first.
Patients who are interested in learning more about the hospital’s patient portals to manage their health care can find links and register at https://svhealthcare.org/patients-visitors/patient-portal.
Melissa Frechette works in the Information Systems department at SVMC and manages the patient portals.