DALLAS July 9, 2014 There has been a sharp increase in the number of cancer patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center using MyChart, the online, interactive service that allows patients to view laboratory and radiology results, communicate with their healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and renew prescriptions.
Over a six-year period, the number of patients actively using MyChart each year increased five-fold, while the number of total logins each year increased more than 10-fold, according to a study by Dr. David Gerber, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Simon J. Craddock Lee, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences.
"This pattern suggests that not only are far more patients using this technology, but also that they are using it more intensively," Dr. Gerber said.
These findings, published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, are noteworthy because no prior study has systematically examined the use of electronic patient portals by patients with cancer, even though use of this technology is surging nationwide, creating new terrain in clinical care and doctor-patient relationships.
The increase in MyChart use reflects the convenience and ease of use perceived by patients.
Darla Robinson, a 75-year-old Arlington resident with lung cancer, said she uses MyChart to follow up on her appointments with Dr. Gerber and other UT Southwestern doctors. Her husband, Jim, navigates the MyChart pages and types in any messages she wants to send to her caregivers.
"It's very efficient for finding your appointments and any information about your tests after you see the doctor," she said. "It's no hassle. It's user friendly."
In 2009, Congress allotted
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UT Southwestern Medical Center