By Carole Miller, BSN ~
In our Sun City Carolina Lakes location, there are primarily two healthcare providers: Atrium (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System) and Novant (Presbyterian). You may have medical records in one or both of these systems. Unfortunately, they do not share online information, but you as a patient do have the ability to access your own medical records, and it is to your advantage to know how to do that.
Even if you don’t understand all of the medical terminology in your online records, you have the ability to ask questions concerning those items. Since it is your body, after all, it should all be of utmost concern.
You can access laboratory results, x-ray reports, notes from a doctor’s visit, surgical procedure notes, recommendations for you, follow-up instructions, medical history, therapy notes, referrals, and all other records related to your medical health, including your billing account while under the care of practitioners in that particular healthcare system. These records can be shared only by you or with your permission. You can print your results if you need to share them with an outside provider.
And though our intent as patients is not to catch mistakes, mistakes are sometimes made with just the click of a key. You can then quickly correct them. For example, I saw on my record that I was post-chemotherapy, and I have never had chemotherapy, so I informed my primary care physician, and it was deleted. Another time, weight-bearing orders for my condition were incorrect, and because I was aware of my status, I could get that correction made and prevent a possible postoperative complication. While I am not suggesting that we access our records just to look for errors, I am saying that we need to be fully informed and assure accuracy if we can.
Having online medical information is valuable in assisting with communication with our healthcare providers. You have the ability to email your doctor or someone in his office. In the Atrium system, they are required to reply within two business days, plus you also have a record of your communication. You can make, cancel, or change appointments online in most practices.
To enroll online, you need to access the particular healthcare system, Atrium (Carolinas HealthCare) or Novant, and find on the menu the instructions for signing on to your personal account. If you are unable to access the site, call to get to the enrollment and sign-on page, and usually someone will walk you through the process.
Currently, changes being made to some former Carolinas HealthCare offices such as the Mecklenburg Group. You would need to check with those groups as to how this will affect the online access to your records in those offices or to doctors within the practice.
My research did not show any information regarding online access of the Piedmont Healthcare system, but they may have a similar system.
Once you have enrolled, you will have a sign-in identification, and you can select your own password as with any other private account. You may want to include that information with other private passwords that you share only with your healthcare power of attorney.
About the author: Carole Miller is a resident of Sun City Carolina Lakes and a frequent contributor to Living @ SCCL magazine on all things medical. Editor side note – Shortly after writing an article on tripping hazards in the home, Carole broke her leg tripping over a dog toy when she was answering the door. We who know Carole, love her, and care about her have not let her live that down. After all, what are friends for?