We’ve all been there. It’s 3 a.m. and your 2-year-old is up with a rash and fever, and you consult Google. You are not sure if the information you just read on Yahoo! Answers is credible. If only you had a local, reliable source of medical information at your fingertips.
Now residents in Evansville will have just that. Deaconess Health System recently launched MyHealth — a virtual resource center that hosts health articles, videos, and links to local health sources.
What makes this service unlike any other health care information source is that Deaconess health care professionals, including physicians, dietitians, therapists, nutritionists, and leading experts produce many of the articles and videos.
“The unique feature, that is not duplicated locally, is that we have local (medical) sources discussing health topics in-depth, as well as links (by topic) to community health-related groups and organizations,” says Becca Scott, Deaconess community engagement coordinator. “We want people to be smart, empowered patients or caregivers.”
People visiting the site, deaconess.com/MyHealth, are typically what Scott calls “health care decision-makers.”
“A lot of people are not visiting for themselves,” she says. “Whether I’m a mom or daughter, I can be researching for my kiddo or parent.”
A large search bar is featured prominently on the home page. When a reader searches for diabetes, they are taken to a page with articles titled “Diabetes 101” written by Jane Hackert, the Certified Diabetes Educator with Deaconess Diabetes Center. Also on that page, the reader will see tabs for Health Services (with links to the Pediatric Diabetes Clinic) and Local Resources (with links to the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program).
“We are not just limiting content to things that are Deaconess,” says Scott. “We are trying to include other community organizations. We all have the same goal of helping people be healthy.”
On the search page, readers can find a number of articles and videos, some from the health library and others written by Deaconess health care professionals.
A list of oft-searched health topics dots the left side of the screen with topics such as brain and spine, cancer, lungs and breathing, and pregnancy.
Scott says since the launch of the site in April, an article concerning how to survive allergy season has been the most-read article on the site — indicative of the season thus far.
The site was created not just for someone recently diagnosed with a health issue. It’s also intended as a resource for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are listings for health screenings, health assessments, weekly walks, and support groups. A searchable calendar features these community activities.
The site was designed to be easily navigable and has a clean, fresh look. Something else readers may notice is the virtual resource center is free of advertisements, which is intentional.
“It makes it cleaner and easier to navigate,” says Scott, who notes it also adds to the site’s readability.
A precursor to the MyHealth site was a brick-and-mortar information center called the Resource Center, which was created in the early 1990s.
“It was a nice space with rows and rows of books and brouchures,” says Scott. “But, the world has evolved since the ‘90s. There are a not a lot of people wanting health information walking into a library and getting a brochure.”
While that location no longer exists, elements of the building — such as the health library — will live on in the digital version. The primary reason behind the creation of the MyHealth site, says Scott, was to deliver quality health care information by a trusted source, whether that is from a doctor or an accurate online library.
“As technology has evolved, we all have smartphones and are connected in every way,” she says. “We are looking for ways to stay connected. Now, people like seeing their doctors putting out health information. It’s a good thing to feel more connected to your physician and ultimately more connected to their health.”
Scott also says that when people are better educated on a certain health topic, they are more empowered to ask good questions.
Patients who see a Deaconess doctor also will have access to the MyChart function — an online electronic medical record. The MyChart feature allows patients to access their personalized health record. They are able to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, review test results, and print out immunization records.
“People are already engaged in MyChart, but MyHealth is a further extension of that and they also get health information by going to the same site,” says Scott.
Scott says the intention of the website was to have “the same feel” as WebMD. The hope is that if people visit WebMD, they also will visit MyHealth to take advantage of the local nature of the site.
For more information, visit deaconess.com/MyHealth.