September 07, 2011
Practice enjoys easier way to send, receive data
When Walnut Lake Ob/Gyn wanted to automate its women’s health clinic, the practice hoped to
securely send and receive electronic health information from the affiliated
hospital, Detroit Medical Center. A year after going live on Cerner solutions,
the practice had a new objective – securely send and receive information with
patients. Dr. Michael Salesin reflects
on how Cerner’s Patient Portal, IQHealth, has improved his relationship with
his patients and increased efficiency in his practice.
In June of 2008, our practice went live with Cerner’s HIPAA
compliant Patient Portal, giving our patients access to their personal charts online.
Initially, we anticipated that half of our patients would access the portal.
Instead, we see close to 95 percent with over 6,020 patients accessing and
utilizing the tool. In our practice, we have people who are 75 – 80 years old
and they are some of our best users. It’s amazing. They get onto IQHealth and they get their test results
Our patients use the tool to view and make modifications to
their medication list and allergies, which instantaneously flow over to the
patient’s chart. Patients also can schedule appointments and communicate with
their providers, increasing engagement with their own care.
Every day we get letters, not one, but many letters of approval from patients using the Patient Portal. They
are absolutely thrilled to see their medical information and to have control
over it. We put those letters up on a board in the office because it has been
such a huge practice builder. That is a Cerner thing – not a third-party
application. It’s an integrated part of it and it has been huge for us. It has
made our life easier and the patients love it. They just love it. In the
office, we receive fewer patient phone calls because we can now communicate
over the Web.
More and more of our patients are becoming computer savvy,
so they prefer to communicate via email. They like to look at their results
when it is convenient for them.
The patient, in turn, gets an email notifying them of a new
message in the secure Patient Portal, which they can access at their
This messaging service saves thousands of dollars each year.
Prior to using the Patient Portal, we sent patient results through the mail,
costing money for paper, toner, envelopes and stamps, not to mention the
employee time and cost. We have now almost completely eliminated those costs. We
saved at least $10,000 and we are only a 4-person office.
The EHR does a lot of nice things – but the Patient Portal
is what has changed our lives. It has simplified the communication process,
allowed us to access and report results from a remote location including our
homes. You can’t just practice medicine and pretend that you don’t have to deal
with results. The take home message is that the Portal allows for a rapid, time-sensitive,
communication pathway for the doctor and the patient – and that’s worth
everything. Everybody wins –the health care team and patients.
Dr. Salesin earned his undergraduate from the University of Michigan and his medical degree from Wayne State University. His residency was completed at Sinai Hospital in Detroit. Dr. Salesin is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. He has staff positions at Sinai Hospital and Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. Dr. Salesin’s special interests are infertility and menopausal medicine.