Your child’s application for summer camp is due. Tomorrow! And you need to include an updated list of his vaccinations.
No need to panic. You can find this information through MyChart, the online, personalized, secure, 24-hour-accessible medical record provided free to parents and guardians of children who are patients of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the CHOP Care Network.
"It’s awesome," says Gloria Shotz, an avid MyChart user whose son, Jacob, is treated by Sarah Macdonald, MD, in the High Point primary care practice. "I can check lab results and look to be sure all of Jacob’s medications are up to date. As a parent whose child has special needs and complex medical issues, MyChart makes my life a little bit easier."
MyChart began as a pilot in a handful of Care Network offices in 2010. It expanded to include all primary care practices in late 2012. By fall 2013, parents will be able to access information from their child’s specialists at Children’s Hospital. You can also use a mobile app that makes MyChart accessible from your smartphone. Rest assured that MyChart is secure; only families and their CHOP physicians and nurses can use it and see patient information. Refer to the information in the right column about what to expect once you activate your account.
Approximately 8,000 families have opened a MyChart account. If Dr. Macdonald had her way, more would sign on. "There is so much information available immediately through MyChart, that I promote it to all families that come to our office," she says. The best thing about it? "It’s really great for non-urgent communication."
Parents (or teenage patients) can email their physician through MyChart and receive an answer in a day or two. It sure beats endless rounds of phone tag as busy doctors inevitably try to return a call when the parent isn’t available.
"I use it to directly communicate with Dr. Macdonald," says Kellie Horvath, whose 17-month-old daughter, Madeline, is a High Point patient. "It allows you to discuss a concern with the provider who knows your child so well. When Madeline had a fever after a vaccination, we were able to plot out a schedule for her future vaccinations — all through the email function."
If you want to take advantage of MyChart’s features, it’s easy to sign up. Your child’s primary care practice will give you a letter that contains an access code. (The code has an expiration date so don’t wait too long to sign up.) Go to mychart.chop.edu, and under "New User?" click the "Sign Up Now" link. Note: The sign-up page will ask for YOUR birth date — not your child’s. Just follow the step-by-step instructions. Kids 13 and older need to register for themselves and have the option of giving their parents access. If you have problems, contact your CHOP Care Network office and someone will help you.
For the Shotz family, MyChart has been very helpful. The complexity of Jacob’s health issues leads to a lot of interactions with insurance companies. "If I need a letter of medical necessity, I can pop them an email, even in the middle of the night, and I know it gets there," Gloria says. "Every time I turn around, it seems I need to provide the insurance company with an updated prescription. It’s great to be able to make those requests when it’s convenient for me and know things are taken care of."
At your child’s next appointment, ask for a MyChart access code and soon you’ll be on your way to having your child’s health information at your fingertips 24/7.