On Jan. 1, 2014, MIT Medical fully converted to a new healthcare portal called Follow My Health, replacing an older portal called Patient Online. Follow My Health will support features absent from Patient Online, such as the ability for patients to view lab results. Like Patient Online, Follow My Health has the right to sell aggregate data, but will not compromise any patient privacy in the process.
The program is “totally voluntary,” said MIT Medical’s manager of marketing David Tytell. “You should have [an account] because it’s easy. But if you don’t have one, it’s fine,” he said.
Shelagh Joyce, director of information services at MIT Medical, said that the biggest improvement in Follow My Health over Patient Online is that patients may now access “laboratory and radiology results.” Also, the platform is portable and available on Android and iOS devices, according to Joyce.
Tytell said MIT Medical chose to change to Follow My Health because it’s “used by over three-hundred hospitals… it’s a tried and true product.” Tytell said the portal is useful to patients as it allows them to easily update their health history and view the data collected by practitioners at MIT Medical, such as vital signs. Tytell continued by saying the portal will also make prescription and vaccination records available to patients and provide a secure channel for patients to communicate with their doctor.
Joyce states another reason Medical decided to switch portal providers was that Patient Online decided they weren’t going to embellish their product further, and their product might not meet future federal regulations, as well as the new portal provides more flexibility for patients.
Under their terms of service, Follow My Health is permitted to sell both “aggregate” and “blinded” patient data, but Joyce claimed “they’re not [doing so] because we’ve talked to them about that.” She added that “any company can sell any blind data to anybody… that meets HIPAA regulations.” Blinded data, Joyce explained, is de-identified. “It’s not going to give them my name, [for example]. It’s going to tell them [my age], but it’s not going to give them my name. It’s not going to give them any information that could potentially trace back to me.” Joyce also said that blinded data is not going to put patients with rare diseases at risk.
Follow My Health does not replace traditional paper records, as MIT hasn’t used paper records for several years, according to Joyce. Instead, Follow My Health intends to mirror some of the information stored in MIT Medical’s internal patient database.
Neither Follow My Health nor Patient Online charge a fee to hospitals or patients to use their service, according to their respective websites.