The Mercy Health System covers four mid-western states and includes 28 hospitals, over 200 outpatient clinics, and employs around 36,000 people. Many mid-city people work for, or utilize Mercy health services. MyMercy is available at all these locations.
“MyMercy is a free online service giving patients the ability to track health history, schedule appointments, contact a doctor and renew prescriptions via a personal computer or smart phone,” the system said in a statement.
“Now you can schedule appointments, check lab results and email your doctor,” health system spokesman Ron Jackson told The City Sentinel.
“It’s all interwoven in this movement towards updating medical technology, and its the first service of it’s kind in Oklahoma,” Jackson said.
Dr. Terrill Hulson is a family physician who practices at Westbrook clinic in Edmond. He said his experience using MyMercy was extremely positive.
“It’s an opportunity for patients to contact our office through E-Mail, Facebook, and Twitter, which is so much quicker than playing phone tag,” said Hulson.
He said that his secretaries loved the fact that patients can look at a schedule and book their own appointments online.
“The communication we provide at Mercy allows us to be high tech, but at the same time, high touch, keeping us in touch with our patients and allowing us to provide better care,” Hulson said.
Lauren Barnes from Mustang is a patient who frequently uses MyMercy. She’s also a mother two little boys, who are sometimes runny-nosed little boys, Grayson and Traylon, ages five and two.
“Using MyMercy makes little problems, like if my son gets a little cough or a runny nose, no longer a reason to go to the doctor’s office,” said Barnes. “The doctor will just tell me to give my son some Tussin or some saline solution and the problem’s over.”
She says it’s a great comfort that her doctor is a mouse click away, touching from a distance.
“If I message my doctor a question, my question just pops up on his computer monitor, and throughout the day, my doctor will reply to my questions. I’ve never had to wait over an hour for a response,” Barnes said.
The federal government is requiring that hospitals implement comprehensive electronic health records for their patients by 2012. These electronic records allow any doctor at a clinic or hospital to immediately view their patients’ health history on a computer screen.
MyMercy pre-emptively, and independently covers these bases.
Any hospital or clinic that meets the upcoming “Meaningful Use” regulations for electronic health care, will receive the benefit of federal aid.
The federal move to computerizing the patient-doctor relationship can be traced back George Bush’s promises during his 2004 state of the union address.
“By computerizing health care records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs and improve care,” said Bush.
Bush estimated that electronic health records would save the U.S. health care system billions of dollars annually.
“Being told you have to do something by the federal government is a big challenge. It’s a challenge to convert from paper to a computer system, but you have to do it,” Hulson said.
The main voice of dissent comes from some medical providers in small towns, some of these people feel burdened by the cost of transferring their paper records to binary code.
William Weber is a Pharmacist at Crescent Drug in Wynnewood, population 2367.
“There are several costs associated with things the federal government are making folks do involving medicine in small town America. It’s hard for pharmacies and pharmacists to pay those costs, as we service a whole different clientele than larger cities,” said Weber.
“The federal government is unrealistic in their expectations and they’ll find any way in the world not to reimburse us,” he said.