Become a vital partner in your health care by using the BBGH Patient Portal
IT DEPT. WILL BE AT BOX BUTTE CO. HEALTH FAIR APRIL 7 FOR HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE
In 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to encourage Eligible Professionals (EPs), Eligible Hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to adopt, implement, upgrade (AIU), and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT).
As a CAH, Box Butte General Hospital (BBGH) has fully implemented EHR within its operations. An important component of EHR is providing patients easy access to their EHRs via a Patient Portal. The Patient Portal for BBGH is easily accessed by going to the hospital’s web site: www.bbgh.org. When on the home page, click on the Patients/Visitors tab and choose the Patient Portal link from the drop down list (click here for direct link).
A Patient Portal is a secure online web site that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. By using a secure username and password, patients can view their BBGH and Greater Nebraska Medical & Surgical Services (GNMSS) Alliance, Hemingford and Hyannis clinics information online. It should be stressed that EHRs of patients visiting other hospitals and clinics outside BBGH and GNMSS clinics are not available. “Other hospitals and clinics use their own EHR portals and are not linked to ours,” explained BBGH Nurse Informaticist JaeAnn Bradt. “There are so many EHR vendors out there that as of now getting all of them to talk to each other isn’t possible. That is CMS’s ultimate goal, but that is going to take a long time to figure out.”
The BBGH Patient Portal will allow patients to view the following information: Medication, allergies, immunizations, recent qualifying visits, most lab results, and Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) documents. “The Portal will become more robust as time goes on,” Ms. Bradt said.
The free service becomes available to patients when they make a visit to BBGH or GNMSS. “During your recent visit, you will be invited to register with the Patient Portal. A PIN will be assigned and given to you,” said BBGH IT Support Tech Zach Payne. “Please use the PIN assigned to you by going to our www-bbgh.org website and clicking on the Patient Portal link under the Patients/Visitors tab. Click on the Patient Portal PIN Register link if signing on for the first time (after the initial registration, patients can use the Log In link from then on). When prompted enter your unique PIN, then answer the simple questions that follow.” He stressed that each person registering must use their own, personal e-mail account. “A married couple, for example, can’t use a shared e-mail account since each of their EHRs are required to meet Health Information Privacy requirements under HIPAA.”
Once the required information is entered, a patient may receive a second e-mail that includes a verification link. If a patient receives such an e-mail, the patient must click on the link included to complete the registration process.
Mr. Payne said the Patient Portal is very secure. “It is protected with the same high level of security that all healthcare organizations are required to follow when it comes to patient health information,” he said. “It is protected with secure SSL encryption, the same security protocol that banks use to protect your financial information. Any messages you receive from your medical team exists only within your secure portal. Such information is never sent through potentially unsecure email. In addition your Patient Portal account is password protected and linked to your verified e-mail address.”
The Portal is linked to the patient’s provided e-mail address so that the patient can receive notifications of any changes in their EHR. “For example, if you make an office visit, you will get a notice via e-mail that your EHR has been updated,” Ms. Bradt concluded. “We strongly encourage all our patients who receive such e-mails to click through the e-mails available link and sign on to look at their EHR to verify the visit and check to make sure information is correct. EHRs are designed to help patients become partners with their health care providers by making sure their information is accurate and up-to-date.”
Members of the hospital’s IT Department will be attending the Box Butte County Health Fair from 8:00am to noon Saturday, April 7 at the Alliance High School. “We’ll be there to give them hands-on experience with the Patient Portal, assign PINs if needed, and answer any other questions they may have,” Mr. Payne concluded. “Please take advantage of this opportunity.”
Box Butte General Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.