Need help keeping track of your medications? Want to view medical test results on the go?
There's an app for that.
Sentara Healthcare on Monday will roll out its free MyChart app for iPhones and iPads for the more than 51,000 users of Sentara's MyChart online patient portal. That enables app users to access with their portable devices many of the same features they would on their personal computers.
The MyChart app enables patients to view test results, access health summaries — including allergies, immunizations and medication lists — and view or cancel upcoming appointments. They can also send and receive medical advice messages, find directions to appointments and help manage care for a family member.
The MyChart app is powered by Epic, a Wisconsin-based software company. Epic has about 8 million MyChart users across the country. Sentara is the first system in this region to offer the free app to patients, the health system said.
MyChart and the new app are a part of Sentara's eCare Health Network, a comprehensive electronic health record system that connects the health system's physicians, specialists, hospitals and diagnostic centers. That enables providers across all settings of care to access patients' complete medical records
The app is another piece to putting more health information into the hands of patients, said Dr. Glenn Rauchwarg, who practices family medicine with Sentara Family Medicine Physicians in York County.
"It's going to further connect them to their own information. Having access to that is really what I think everyone is demanding," he said. "As soon as we involve patients, they're more engaged, they're apt to be more active in recommendations that are made."
On Friday, one of Rauchwarg's patients had checked lab results before seeing Rauchwarg. That meant he could spend less time going over the numbers and more time talking about how to improve them.
"In the same amount of time, we're able to talk about what's really important and move past just sharing of numbers," he said. "I see it as an improved level of care. We're able to talk about what really needs to be discussed."
Daily, patients use MyChart to e-mail questions to his office, and this app makes that kind of communication even more readily available, he said.
"I can more quickly respond to email. It's often much more cumbersome going through phones," he said.
Plus, the medication lists and health summaries may come in handy when patients are consulting with a specialist or pharmacist, Rauchwarg said. That kind of information may be particularly helpful to have on hand for patients who are caregivers to their aging parents, he said.