University of South Florida

Patients of Tampa General Hospital and USF Health have greater access to their medical records as part of Cures Act

USF Health and TGH patients will provide more complete medical records through the MyChart patient portal in advance of a new federal rule change.

Tampa, FL (Nov. 9, 2020) –Tampa General Hospital and USF Health are now giving patients easier access to their clinical notes, lab results, imaging results and much more via the MyChart patient portal in anticipation of the ONC Cures Act Final Rule (21st Century Cures Act). These changes will give patients greater and faster access to their health information and empower them to be in charge of their health data.

Patients of USF Health and Tampa General Hospital will have this expanded access through their MyChart patient portal accounts.

“This is good news for our patients,” said Mark Moseley, MD, MHA, CPE, FACEP, chief clinical officer and associate vice president for USF Health. “It allows patients to be engaged with their own health care, and access to their medical records is critical to doing that.  While we have always provided our patients with access to lab and test results, we now provide more complete records, including completed notes, and are providing it faster than we have in the past.”

The goal is to provide patients with this greater access in a more automated manner using the Epic MyChart portal and smartphone app, with careful checks and balances in place to assure timely and accurate release of medical information.

“Studies show that when patients have more information available, they are more likely to take action to improve their health,” said Laura Haubner, MD, interim chief medical officer at Tampa General. “We’re pleased to be able to improve access for our patients and help empower them with more knowledge about their own health care.”

This change expands the types of medical records patients receive to include sections of the medical records referred to as notes. This can include notes from consultations, discharge summaries, history and physicals, procedures, and progress notes, as well as imaging narratives, laboratory report narratives, and pathology report narratives.

“Open notes will allow us to partner with our patients in truly unique ways,” said Nishit Patel, MD, associate professor in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and chief medical informatics officer for USF Health and Tampa General Hospital. “With this new effort, notes will evolve from being tools that just document a visit into critical resources that patients can reference after an appointment to help them better understand their diagnosis and treatment plan. Patients can also more easily engage their loved ones to help them achieve their health care goals. The note becomes the ultimate after-visit summary.”

Tampa General Hospital and USF Health began releasing via MyChart expanded clinical documentation related to visits with either organization on Nov. 2, the original implementation date planned for the federal rule change. Once physicians complete the notes and documentation associated with USF Health appointments, TGMG appointments or TGH inpatient care, those details will automatically be sent to the patient’s MyChart account. This more complete documentation will include lab results, imaging results, and pathology results, along with completed notes related to visits with USF Health or Tampa General providers. There is no charge for the release of records within MyChart.

The federal rule change has now been delayed until April 2021, but TGH and USF Health were prepared for the original Nov. 2 implementation date and proceeded with plans to implement the change on this date.

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