The push to transition health care providers over to electronic medical records is an often overlooked part of the Affordable Care Act, but one city program aims to take it a step further by bringing that technology to patients. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
While waiting for a recent appointment at the doctor's office in Riverdale, Stephanie Ortiz and her daughter looked up her symptoms online.
"It's helpful to me. Just to have the information...at hand," says Ortiz.
Riverdale Family Practice is one of 32 clinics taking part in the city Health Department's Patient Engagement Kiosk Project known as PEEK.
Apple iPads are mounted on stands with headphones and configured to address patients' health questions, records and prescription drug information.
"Patients really want to know what their condition is and being able to understand that is pretty critical. Having access to at the time you’re learning it... for one you don’t forget about it," says DOHMH Biomedical Informatics Director Michael Buck.
It's the next step in a state-led effort to improve health care through technology. The first was helping clinics around the city adopt electronic health records, a mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
With the kiosks, they aim to increase patients' access to information, especially those with chronic illnesses.
Riverdale doctor Frank Maselli says often times they direct patients to the portals after appointments.
"I have a stethoscope I use that so I can hear heart sounds better, this is just another tool," says Dr. Maselli.
By the end of the year the city Health Department hopes to have 230 kiosks up and running at 115 different clinics, all in medically underserved communities.
"Many of our clinics serve a high Medicaid, Medicare population we thought well those are the areas of greatest need of access," says Buck.
"If we hit people with enough commercials for Coca-Cola they start drinking Coca-Cola. If we hit them with enough information about, 'Hey diabetes can cause you to lose toes, lose legs, go blind, end up on dialysis,' these are the kind of things we can do to prevent that from happening," says Dr. Maselli.
The city Health Department plans to monitor the effectiveness of the kiosks through surveys, to determine whether the increased access to information and patient involvement improves health outcomes, which studies suggest.