When her 5-week-old daughter Scarlett was hospitalized in March with a potentially life-threatening respiratory virus, Melissa Marote of Canoga Park, Calif., was too distraught to remember everything the doctors and nurses told her. Fortunately, she was able to access her daughter’s complete medical records, 24 hours a day, via computer or smartphone through a member portal called “My Health Manager” on kp.org, operated by Kaiser Permanente, which serves as both health insurer and care provider for 8.9 million people in nine states and the District of Columbia.
Marote can review test results and care instructions, request prescription refills, schedule appointments, and swap secure E-mails with her family’s doctors, which she does frequently. “They’re very good about getting back to me, no matter where I am,” she says.
Kaiser is a leader in giving patients online access to their medical information, but this type of access is spreading quickly. “A lot of people have been concerned that technology would put more distance between doctors and patients, but in our experience it brings them closer together,” says Phil Fasano, Kaiser’s chief information officer.