A monthly newsletter from the office of Dr Mary Kirk
September 2016
Electronic Medical Records & 
Technology in the Medical Office
This section contains important information about our Patient Portal. If you are not currently registered to use the Portal, please take a moment over the next few days to register so our office may better serve you.
Over the past few decades, technology has changed our daily lives at an astounding rate. Communication has never been easier or faster and the internet has forever impacted the way we access and share information.

Healthcare is certainly not immune to this progression of technology. The way we collect, process, store & share healthcare information has also undergone an enormous transformation in recent years.
This is not the easiest way to access 
your medical information.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are more robust, digital versions of medical charts and they have improved both the quality and safety of patient care. Not only does the EHR system store the data that is entered, it processes it across the patient's healthcare record, looking for potential problems like the misidentification of patients or duplication of expensive tests. These powerful systems can also identify potential medication interactions and have helped healthcare providers avoid exposing patients to medications that could cause allergic reactions. 

If you need to see another healthcare provider, your EHR can be securely shared with that office, giving them the information they need and improving continuity of care. It's important to note that other healthcare providers do not have unrestricted access to your information. An outside provider must give justification and explain their need to access your Protected Healthcare Information (PHI). In an emergency, certain healthcare providers can and may be granted access to your PHI should you require urgent medical attention.

The EHR system we use in our office is independent of other systems. As authorized providers at Saint Francis and Hillcrest, our office does have access to the EHR systems at both hospitals. This makes it extremely convenient for us to access any blood work, mammograms, radiologic testing, DEXA scanning, etc. that has been performed at these locations, without you having to provide any additional paperwork.
One of the greatest benefits of the improved technology behind EHR is that it gives you, the patient, better access to your own health information, allowing you to take a more active role in managing your healthcare. Our secure Patient Portal allows you to not only view your PHI, you can also schedule appointments, read and review test results, request prescription refills, see your medical treatment plan, and securely communicate with your provider using the secure messaging feature. This all happens in a HIPAA compliant, encrypted environment that is accessible to you anytime, day or night.
Our office is already utilizing our Portal for the majority of our correspondence with patients and for non-emergency matters such as prescription requests and refills. This allows us to be much more efficient in the office so we can better serve you and give more urgent matters the time and attention they deserve.

If you are not already registered to use the Patient Portal, we hope you will give it a try. We think you will appreciate having this advanced access to your information, and we are here to answer any questions you may have as you navigate the site.

All you need to do in order to set up your confidential access is to visit the Portal; click on the "Create Your Online Account" button; and answer a few questions.
We will then verify your account and set up your full access... it's that easy!

As part of creating your Portal account, you will be asked to create a password. We suggest that this password be unique from others you have used in the past and that you take great care in protecting it.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Knowing your family history may help you prevent cancer.
Did you know that women with certain genetic mutations have an increased risk of up to 63% for developing ovarian cancer and up to 87% for developing breast cancer? 

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women and the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, killing one woman every 13 minutes in the United States. Fortunately, knowing a patient's cancer family history may help your physician to prevent cancer or detect it at an earlier stage. Not all patients need to be tested, but those who meet certain criteria are recommended to have genetic testing.  

Approximately 10% of all cancers are caused by a genetic mutation. 

Now is a good time to talk with family members to get a detailed history of cancers in your family. We have added a Family Cancer History Survey to the Resources page of our website. This downloadable form can help you gather information about the history of cancer in your family so a quality decision can be made about whether Hereditary Cancer Testing is right for you.

Fun Fact:
Before the adoption of EHR, the average doctor accumulated over
1,000 pages of patient information every week.

That's a lot of filing!
Dr Mary C Kirk | 918-508-2200 | www.kirkobgyn.com