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December 13. 2012 8:36PM

Portal gives patients easy access in North Country

BERLIN - Patients throughout the North Country now have online access to their medical records at Coos County Family Health Services thanks to a new system called "Patient Portal," according to CCFHS administrators.

"The Patient Portal gives them a secure, rapid and convenient way to view their own medical records, see test results and schedule appointments. Getting on it is easy, and the results can be a real time saver," administrators said in a news release.

An example is students who need to have medical records sent to schools or colleges. Use of the system requires a personal identification number and a unique e-mail address.

The portal takes patients to the health provider's secure servers. Messages are encrypted to keep information private, just as it is at Internet banking sites.

"Patients can see their immunizations, vital signs, medication list, problem list, allergies and more, and can also check on their lab history and their health record's accuracy," administrators said in the release.

Patients can also request medication refills and view their test results. Requests for prescription refills are directed to 'triage,' where agency policy has set a maximum of 48 hours to refill a prescription. The patient will not be contacted unless there is a question or a change - such as in treatment or medication - is required.

Before implementation of the portal, patients had access only to their charts if they requested a print-out from medical records. Since medical information is frequently updated, it is now easier to see changes; patients can log in for data updates following each visit.

More online improvements are planned, according to administrators.

"In the near future, bill-paying will allow patients to access the amount they owe and to either pay online or schedule payment with their own bank's online bill-paying service.

For questions or comments, call director Sally Wheeler at 752-2040.

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Bob Hookway may be reached at bhookway@newstote.com.


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