PatientSite is the user-friendly personalized messaging system that allows communication among Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center patients, clinicians and office staff via a secure website. The system enables patients to request prescription renewals, appointments and referrals, and can view their own electronic medical record, including medications, allergies and test results, radiology reports and electrocardiograms.
Patients will answer questions about their symptoms in an e-mail message through PatientSite one week before a scheduled primary care visit with a physician or nurse practitioner. Patients in the study who report problems or concerns with pain, depression or difficulty walking will receive additional information and recommendations about talking to their clinicians about their condition. A confidential link to an "electronic advocate" – a clinical nurse who will coach patients – will further empower patients to address their concerns. Patients in the control group will receive their usual care.
"We want to use our Internet patient portal to empower both patients and primary care clinicians to address common health problems," says Lisa Iezzoni, M.D., M.Sc., principal investigator for this randomized control trial that will screen 5,000 patients in five adult primary care practices. "We hope our intervention will improve detection of pain, depression, and walking problems, improve the health of patients, and make patients more satisfied with and involved in their care."
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a major patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.