Patients Get More Control Control of Health Care Through Internet

Scott Royster, Using the "Internet Patient Portal"
Scott Royster, Using the "Internet Patient Portal"
Dr. William C. Biggs, Endocrinologist
Dr. William C. Biggs, Endocrinologist

Scott Royster was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago and is now trying to learn everything he can about the disease, including how to treat it.

He's using a new web-based program that helps him keep track of most of his medical history.

"See, I'm one of those that I love computer stuff and to be able to access stuff on my own instead of having to ask what's in my file....I can go look it up myself," said Royster.

The "Internet Patient Portal" has now been rolled out at the "Amarillo Medical Specialists Office".

"It really improves the coordination of care in a lot ways. Patients can communicate with us if they're having a problem, a lot more easily," said Dr. William C. Biggs, an Endocrinologist.

The Portal allows patients to view their medical history, keep track of appointments, ask doctors to refill their medication and much more.

Dr. Biggs said this program is especially great for diabetes patients because it allows patients to learn the results of their lab work more quickly.

"In the diabetes world our patietns see their A-1C test as a sort of report card for how they've done the last three months and they're very anxious to know what the results are," said Dr. Biggs.

It also helps cut down on the workload on the office staff.

"It helps our workflow. It helps the patients get stuf to us more quickly, also they can print out those results; share them with other doctors so it helps collaboration with the other medical professionals that they might be seeing," said Dr. Biggs.

Dr. Biggs said as far as he knows his office is the first in Amarillo to roll out the Portal.  He said 70 to 80% of his patients are introduced to the program.

As far as security, Dr. Biggs said he is confident in the security measures the program uses.

"The system uses security measures similar to what you would use for online banking. You know you have to use a username and a password that's unique. If you log in too many times with the wrong password, you're locked out," said Dr. Biggs.

Dr. Biggs said in complex situations where a patient sends him an email and asks for advice, he will ask the patient to come in for further evaluation.