Medical Errors

How to make the most from your “Mychart” experience

If you have been to a doctor in the last year, it is likely someone asked you if you wanted to sign up for the Health System online portal. 

Lewis Gale uses MyHealth One

Carilion / Ballad Health / CVS use MyChart

Each and every provider has their own way to confirm appointments, offer test results, and even directly communicate with providers. 

Admittedly, with new technologies come new opportunities for error. 

We successfully handled a case where a primary care physician and patient were communicating on MyChart about patient’s symptoms – Doctor recommended an ED visit and various tests, and then, even after subsequent in person appointments and MyChart messages, never checked the test results. 

I recently received my COVID test results through a MyChart message. 

I have been scheduled for appointments mistakenly via the same technology and been wholly unable to cancel appointments through the portal despite it stating I could perform such act. 

Often our clients will say to us “I have my medical records and can bring them by.” This, in our experience means the patient has been given some small amount of records and or has accessed a few documents on MyChart and nothing more.

To be clear, it is nice to have a way to communicate with your healthcare providers outside of an in-person appointment, but let us also be clear:

  • MyChart will not give you access to your entire chart, not even important documents like radiology and lab reports, operative reports etc
  • Doctors are not always comparing your MyChart records and complaints with your actual medical record, which leaves room for error and mistake
  • MyChart is just one added task to the daily things to do list for most Doctors – making it a low priority in the patient healthcare world
  • Convenience doesn’t always mean accuracy

So while we certainly don’t advise AGAINST using the portal as a patient, we do advise you use it as it was intended – as an administrative aid, and nothing more

We still recommend the following:

  1. Ask to see all lab and radiology reports, and ask for copies
  2. Ask for in person appointments to discuss concerns
  3. Document your own symptoms and take with you, in writing, asking the doctor to make it part of your patient chart
  4. If you expect further tests or follow up, ask for them – and don’t stop until the care has been provided
  5. Always keep an updated list of medications with you for all appointments
  6. If you feel an issue has not been properly addressed, follow up
  7. Use the MyChart / MyHealth One portals – but don’t rely on them as Medical care.
  8. And finally – ALWAYS BE YOUR BEST ADVOCATE. While doctors may not like to be questioned, sometimes it means the difference between you getting the care you need, or care that could cause harm

So when next asked – “Would you like to sign up for MyChart / Baycare Online / Lewis Gale’s MyHEalth ONE” the answer is yes… but always make an appointment to be seen when necessary. 

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.