With MyChart messaging, gone are the days of phone tag or waiting for the doctor’s office to open to communicate with your child’s physician.
Instead, parents can securely send a message to the provider day or night, when it’s convenient for them. From concerns about a medication their child is taking to follow-up questions after a well visit to interpreting test results, more and more parents are turning to MyChart for answers to non-urgent medical questions.
To make the most of this great feature, Tami Cieplinski, RN, Akron Children’s Headache Program coordinator, offers some insider information for parents on how to get faster and more useful responses in MyChart.
“Many families believe their messages go directly to the doctors, so they think the doctor already knows what they’re talking about and has all the necessary information,” said Cieplinski. “That’s where most of the confusion comes from. The message actually comes to the nurse pool first and before we send it on to physicians we want as much info as possible.”
She points to one example where a parent discussed 2 medications with her child’s provider during an office visit, but when she went to pick up the prescription, she wasn’t sure which one to start her child on first.
When she messaged the office to find out, she left out the names of the medications, assuming the provider knew from their earlier conversation. However, the nurses who received the message needed more information to take to the provider in order to form a response.
“If we have all the information upfront, then we can send it on right away to the provider and they’re able to answer and get back to families more quickly,” said Cieplinski.
To get to the root of the issue and clear up the confusion, Cieplinski offers these tips:
Instead of calling the doctor’s office when they have no refills left on a prescription, many families use MyChart to request prescription renewals.
Cieplinski advises families to include the name of the medication and their child’s current dosage. If a physician recently increased or decreased a dosage, or changed how often the child should take the medication, it may not yet be current in the medical chart. Physicians have 72 hours to update their notes after a patient’s office visit.
Well or sick visits
Many families message their doctor’s office with follow-up questions after well or sick visits.
For example, if parents send a message about concerns their child may have developed new symptoms, it’s important to include the specifics of what’s happening and how these symptoms are different from what’s typical for their child.
“Parents know their child best and we may not understand what’s normal for their child,” Cieplinski said. “If a parent messages explaining their child is having several seizures a day, that’s not as scary as it seems if the child has a history of seizures, compared to a child that hasn’t had a seizure. The treatment plan may be different based on the child’s norm.”
Often, families send messages with questions or confusion regarding their child’s test results.
First and foremost, Cieplinski advises families to include the specific test result they’re questioning. Also, if the test wasn’t performed at Akron Children’s, be sure to include the date and location of where the test was performed.
In addition, if a family is confused about medical terminology or language, she advises parents to make sure the message includes the specific sentence or phrase they’d like clarified.
“When in doubt,” Cieplinski said, “just being as clear and detailed as you can makes a big difference in speeding up the process.”