My MCH app offers new care avenue

Jun. 6—Checking medical records, paying bills, prescriptions or even middle of the night medical concerns can be accessed through the My MCH Patient Portal.

Introduced to the public May 10, the portal provides patients and future patients will "all kinds of access to information," Chief Operating Officer Matt Collins said.

If you visited a doctor or the hospital, you may want to see your medical records, laboratory results, or radiology results.

"They may want to see what the doctor wrote in the visit summary. They may want to see the history of the medications that they've been prescribed; their appointments," Collins said.

"What this does is it puts everything you want to know about Medical Center, particularly you as a patient, literally in the palm of your hands," Collins said.

The app can be downloaded from app stores on to your smartphone. Users have to go through a sign-up procedure so the hospital can verify their identity before MCH gives them access to their records.

They go through self-enrollment, or if they are already a patient, they may already be enrolled.

"A new feature that we have that we're really trying to get out to the community is our tele-health feature, or video visits," Collins said.

This is for when you wake up in the middle of the night and have abdominal pain, or your baby is colicky and you don't know what to do.

"You're left with a few choices. Do you wait until morning? Do you go to an urgent care, which is closed at 2 in the morning, or do you go to the hospital ER?" Collins said.

Some of the things that come up could be handled with an on-demand video visit, but if you need to go to the emergency room, you should, he said.

"But if you just need medications, or to talk to a doctor, this video visit feature is the way to do it. You just open up the app; go through the few basic health screening questions, and within minutes, you're on a video chat with a board-certified physician who will help you get ... answers to these questions ..., medications and ... advice if you need to be referred to a higher level of care. If he feels you need to go to the ER or urgent care, he's going to help you get there," Collins said.

He added that this is aimed at expanding access to MCH, patient information and on-demand video visits 24/7.

"All you need is a phone or a computer and you can be connected to a physician in minutes," Collins said.

The hospital has been working on the app for about a year. COVID slowed them down a little bit, but they launched it for employees in mid-April.

It was rolled out to all patients and community members May 10.

"The employees have had good experiences," Collins said.

He added that what MCH is trying to be a one-stop medical shop for the community.

"Whatever you need from a health perspective, we're going to be there for you and help provide it for you at the right place, at the right time, with the right level of care. If you need an ER visit, we're going to here; if you need to visit with a specialist, we'll be there. If you need a physician for a minor problem, 24/7, we'll be there," Collins said.

Director of Public Relations Trevor Tankersley said he thinks one of the neat things about the app is the tele-health where you can choose the first available physician, but you can also select from the list of providers.

It shows you the provider's name, photo and their specialty or subspecialty.

If it's abdominal pain, you can choose internal medicine. If it's a concern for a child, you can pick family medicine or a pediatrician, Tankersley said.

"It's really for people who ... (are) pretty sure of what they need, but they just want that validation from a physician," Collins said.

If you had the flu or a cold and you received an antibiotic and it worked, you can tell the doctor.

Collins said the doctors sign up for tele-health duty voluntarily.

"They get paid for the visit, but they're on a rotating schedule and they all share that schedule around the clock," Collins said.

Tankersley said it's a mixture of ProCare physicians and doctors from the platform as well.

Collins said it's a network of physicians that sign up to participate, but they are all approved by MCH.

"It will mainly be ours," Tankersley said.

Collins said there were three groups involved in developing the app — Medical Center, Cerner, a large provider of electronic medical records, and Amwell, a firm that specializes in tele-health visits.

"We combined the expertise of those three entities to come up with this custom app. I don't think that any other hospital would have an app just like this because it's customized for Medical Center and Medical Center patients," Collins said.

Collins added that there are other apps available for tele-health visits, but they are not associated with Medical Center.

"This one is a Medical Center product, so when you're going through the questions and answers everything in there is Medical Center," Collins said.

The app is free, but it's about $65 per tele-health visits, Tankersley said.

There are a few insurance companies that MCH is accepting right now, but they are trying to expand that, Collins said.

"It's priced to match the level of service that you get," he added.

Tankersley said he doesn't know of any other hospital with an app that is as all encompassing.

"I think we're the pioneers of an all-in-one app," Collins said.

Tankersley added that this is all HIPPA certified.

"That's why it's important when you sign up or log in, you have to go through the verification process ...," Tankersley said.