During Fall 2013 I worked as a marketing assistant with OnPulse, a tech start up that aims to fill the communication void that often results between patients and their providers. Read my blogging and website copy samples below!
In the know: requesting your medical records
As healthcare consumers, we have a lot to keep up with — medications, symptoms, appointments, updating your doctors, not to mention your other daily responsibilities. To do all of this, you have to be organized. Some of our clients have piles of chock-full yellow file folders or a dedicated bookshelf of binders with notes from every doctor’s appointment. Even though this helps, you don’t always feel like you’re in control. And that’s a frustrating place to be.
But there’s good news. As of September 23rd, patients can now request their medical records in an electronic form. We are finding, though, that it’s taking providers some time to adjust to this new procedure. Our OnPulse customer experience team made a few phone calls to find out what our clients can expect requesting medical records.
We called 40 healthcare providers of our current OnPulse clients. Most practices did not have a dedicated medical records staff member. In general, the staff were very receptive to our request. The conversation went like this:
“Hello my name is Julie and I am calling to have a copy of my records sent to me, so I can have them securely to share with my family or providers as needed. Can I send you my authorization or do I need to sign yours?” (Typically the practice will accept any authorization as long as it covers all of the appropriate topics.)
Next we asked if they would be willing to upload the information to our secure folder through OnPulse. None of the 40 providers we contacted were able to share records through this option because they had never done this before. Some asked for more information about OnPulse, while others offered to fax the medical records instead.
Once practices adjust to the new option of sending medical records electronically, requesting your records will be a cinch. Until then, OnPulse is going to work with practices to retrieve your records for you. Having all of your records in OnPulse’s Resource Center will allow you to easily update them, share them with providers as needed, and best of all, stay organized. Our ultimate goal is to help you live stress-free and healthy.
Which documents should you request?
Quite frankly, not everything in your medical records is important. Be sure to request records of specific procedures, your most recent management plan (histories, physicals, or consults), and images or labs that support the diagnosis (e.g. an x-ray that shows you broke your arm or labs that indicate you are anemic.)
For parents of children that are generally well, request the most recent physical and their immunization records — these are relevant for school, camps and sports. Once you have these records in OnPulse, you will easily and quickly be able to share them with relevant parties.
How will you receive your records?
In most cases, you will have to give them a fax number. Remember, the goal is to convert your files to a digital format so that you can easily place them in your OnPulse account. If you are a client, you can use our fax number when requesting your records. Once we receive them, we will upload them to OnPulse for you. If you have your own fax number that’s great, too.
Though it is not very common, some practices may need to charge you a fee (usually because they are under-staffed). You can expect to pay any where from $10 to $30 for your records. However, the majority of practices we spoke with were willing to send your records for free.
Turn-around times can vary from one day to a week. Once you receive the file and upload it in OnPulse, you can share it with your providers!
Does all of this sound a little daunting? OnPulse can request your records on your behalf and load them into your account. At the end of the day, we want to enable you to be in charge of your healthcare. It may sound like a bit of a process, but trust us, it’s worth having the control in your hands.
Guest blog post on partner website for pilot program
This week we’d like to introduce you to our new partner, OnPulse! OnPulse, founded by a maternal fetal medicine doctor at Duke, offers a secure online communications solution for people to manage their own healthcare or that of their child. OnPulse is running a 120-day FREE trial exclusively for Triangle Mommies members to see how they can improve their service and contribute to a patient-centered healthcare model. Just for signing up, you will be entered into a drawing for a free party at Monkey Joe’s ($300 value)! Here’s what they have to say:
Hi mommies! As a mom, no one knows more about your child’s health than you, which is why you should be able to manage their healthcare. We’re excited to be working with you all toward our ultimate goal — improving healthcare worldwide.
Who we are
OnPulse was founded by Dr. Corey Booker, a maternal fetal medicine doctor at Duke. His mission is to fill the gaps in communication that often happen between patients and doctors and sometime lead to mistakes and miscommunication. Corey whole-heartedly believes that trusted relationships lead to better care.
Our service allows you to connect with your doctor online (sort of like LinkedIn), upload your medical records, and share health information with anyone you want to. Don’t worry — everything is HIPAA-compliant, private and secure.
Perks of managing your care through OnPulse
Finally, you will be organized and prepared for medical emergencies. You can keep a log of symptoms and medications and share those with your child’s doctor(s), school nurse, and sports teams. Sharing doctor notes, immunization records and other medical information will be as easy as sending a message!
So where do you fit in? We’ve set up a trial program especially for you. We’d like for you to sign up (free!), try us out, and give us some feedback about your experience. With your input, we will be able to make OnPulse more efficient and help patients everywhere be in control of their healthcare and have better healthcare experiences. To thank you for participating, we will be giving one random user a free party at Monkey Joe’s!
To sign up and see how OnPulse will transform your healthcare, click here.
We created OnPulse with a single mission — to transform the healthcare process by coordinating care around patients, and restoring their trust in doctors.
I encountered the harsh realities of the healthcare process during my training in maternal fetal medicine.
I was the trusted provider and care team leader for Jen, a young first-time mother who was debating whether to pursue a high-risk, invasive surgery. In a series of miscommunication and misinterpretation by both Jen and her providers, she mistakenly went through with the operation, and lost the pregnancy.
“I thought you were all communicating,” she told me, crying.
I was devastated. I had failed her, and I didn’t understand where the breakdown in communication was, or how to fix it.
I fathomed the possibilities for healthcare consumers if we could remedy the lapses in communication.
Disappointed and determined to act, I sought council from my father, who left me with a few wise words: “If you know how to fix the problem, then it is wrong for you not try.”
I was in my second year of fellowship, getting a master’s degree at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and was the father of five young children when I ruptured both of my patellar tendons at my son’s flag football game.
After my surgery, I asked my surgeon to recommend a physical therapist with experienced rehabilitating after this type of surgery. The surgeon said he didn’t know, shuffled through a drawer, and handed me a piece of paper with a list of nine hospital-affiliated physical therapy clinics. Then he told me to follow up in three months.
Suddenly, I was on my own. Managing my care and overcoming the chaos of every day life felt impossible. I began to search and make calls to multiple physical therapist offices. I finally found one, but had to pay out-of-pocket — hardly feasible on a fellow’s salary supporting five children. When my follow-up appointment arrived, my surgeon was amazed at my recovery. When I asked the surgeon if he wanted to know who helped me, the surgeon declined, saying, “That’s okay. I’m really glad you are better, though.”
I realized my doctor didn’t know how to care more.
Regrettably, I realized saw myself in the surgeon. He was trained and reimbursed to take care of the things that were in his clinic or on his operating table. Once patients walked out of his office, they were no longer his responsibility.
The biggest challenge healthcare consumers face is being isolated from trusted doctors and their personal health information. This is why making care more accessible and efficient is the driving force behind OnPulse.
With today’s technology, doctors can’t meet the communication demands for today’s patients. Conditions are more complex, the science is more extensive, and people have intricate social, financial and educational restraints that directly impact their ability to receive care. OnPulse serves to break down these barriers by facilitating a space where consumers and providers can ask questions, make informed decisions, collaborate with providers, share documents, and get healthier faster.
OnPulse believes that staying connected can eliminate preventable mistakes, avoidable cost, and even unintended harm. Join our community of people who believe that healthcare can be better through more efficient and accessible communication.
Corey Booker, M.D.
Founder and CEO