I first got in touch with Dr Afzal Chaudhry, (renal consultant and chief medical information officer at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH)), some years ago after hearing about a national patient platform (then called Renal PatientView) being used in Sheffield. Later on this led me to get involved as a patient with the development of MyChart – the new patient portal at CUH. I’ve always played an active role in my own treatment and like to understand my conditions. I have a range of medical problems, which started in 1969 when I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a familial condition. My blood pressure was controlled for a long time to help delay the need for dialysis treatment before I eventually had a successful transplant in 1989. I’ve since been diagnosed with a serious heart condition and underwent a quadruple bypass and aortic valve replacement in 1999. As a result of the drugs I have to take following my transplant, I’ve also suffered with osteoporosis, abdominal hernias, basal cell carcinomas and several haematomas. I like to work with my clinicians in the management of my conditions, which was why MyChart particularly appealed to me.
What does it allow you to do?
MyChart is currently being rolled out across clinical departments at Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals, following a pilot in the oncology and obesity clinics. It lets me send messages to my care team, and view upcoming appointments, details of past appointment and hospital visits, clinical letters from doctors and test results. It also lets me access a health summary page, which includes a full list of my medications, as well as links to further information that helps me manage my condition or learn more about the medications I’ve been prescribed.
Why is it so beneficial to patients like you?
More and more people are living with a range of complex health conditions. Having all the information available in one place, explained in plain English, is really useful for me, especially as I am regularly in and out of hospital and other services. I can access it from anywhere in the world provided I have an internet connection, using a PC or the MyChart SmartPhone/tablet app. It gives me peace of mind when I want to travel because if I were to need medical help in another part of the UK or abroad, I could log on and all my information would be available for clinicians to see. It also helps me keep on top of my medications, and understand what I’m taking. For example, I was recently given the wrong medication due to a pharmacy error, but was able to notice that it wasn’t correct and get it changed. Having the information at hand has helped me to better manage my conditions and I believe that patient awareness contributes to a more joined-up health and care system. Patients might also find the links to additional information about their treatment and conditions really useful, particularly when it’s quite complex.