Ralph-MullerIn an age when more and more aspects of our lives center on the web -- paying bills, learning, shopping, and searching for homes and apartments -- myPennMedicine and Wellfocused are two Penn-based online options for helping to stay healthy.

Our patient portal, myPennMedicine, was the very first of its kind in the Philadelphia area. It has brought an expanded level of access and convenience by allowing patients to obtain lab results, complete forms, and request prescription refills and appointments -- all from a home computer or smart phone. More than 150,000 UPHS patients are using myPennMedicine, and the number is growing all the time. Password-protected, it is secure, confidential, and available around the clock.

Debuting in 2008, the portal (which is tied to our Epic outpatient electronic health record) continues to add new features. For example, patients can now link directly into our health information library. Simply clicking on a diagnosis or medication leads to authoritative information on that topic. And we’ll be adding access to radiology results shortly.

We know that many patients want to use online health care tools, but few have access to such services. For example, 65 percents of respondents in a recent national survey said that having online access to their medical records is important or very important to them, but only 17 percent reported having such access. Through myPennMedicine, we’re addressing patients’ preferences and making their lives just a bit easier. More important, we‘re giving them the knowledge and information they need to stay healthy.

Our staff benefit from myPennMedicine as well. It allows them to make referrals, report results, and handle appointments more efficiently than phone or paper-based approaches. Patient care is enhanced, as staff can close the communication loop with patients more directly.

Our commitment to improving health via the web extends to our own staff members as well. Wellfocused Healthy Rewards offers tools and resources for becoming more aware of your current health status and making the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health -- and have fun while doing so. The challenges and activities in the program are designed for everyone, regardless of your health or fitness level.

For example, you can earn rewards (points, raffles, and gifts) for such healthy behaviors as exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, and reducing salt and sugar intake. Every quarter there are new and exciting challenges in which all staff members can participate. You can even create your own challenges for reaching your personal health goals -- and still earn points. The program also encourages you to become better aware of key biometric screening results, e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar. To learn more -- and participate -- please visit the HR and you website (www.uphshrandyou.com) and log in by clicking on Healthy Rewards.   

New technology options such as myPennMedicine and Wellfocused widen the channel of choices our patients and staff members have for taking better care of themselves. By bringing health-care services and information to you through electronic devices, we continue to show our commitment to improving everyone’s health and well-being.

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