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Giving MyChart a Shot
Physicians: Shannon Brown, PA
There was a time when it was rare for Stevensville resident, Brian Gumns, to find himself sitting in a doctor’s office. Staying healthy had never been a huge concern for Brian, who had always enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with his young children and had yet to experience any major medical problems. But when a back injury turned into a herniated spinal disc three years ago, at the age of forty-one, Brian’s health care needs shifted.
Prior to his injury, Brian had only needed to communicate periodically with his primary care provider; post-injury, he suddenly had to juggle multiple appointments with multiple doctors in multiple locations.
“Physician assistants, neurologists, pain clinics, physical therapists – I was overwhelmed, to say the least,” he said.
Brian had heard of Lakeland MyChart before, but had never activated his account, assuming it wouldn’t allow him to do much. But after several weeks of struggling to keep his newly-intensified care organized, he sat down with his medical provider, Shannon Brown, PA, and she explained how using MyChart could help.
“She shared how downloading MyChart would make my life easier, even if I only used it to keep track of my appointments,” said Brian. “Once I logged on and started poking around, I realized just how much you can actually do on the app.”
MyChart, which can be accessed online here or downloaded to Android/iOS devices for free, can be thought of as a digital epicenter for patients and their individualized care. It allows users to request prescription refills, message their doctors, view their lab results, and more.
Because he found Lakeland MyChart to be so beneficial and convenient, Brian was soon using the app at least every other day. He even helped his wife and kids activate their own accounts.
According to Brian, “It’s nice, because you go to an appointment or into the emergency room and they always ask for what medications you take, and if you’re like me, you take a lot. Instead of bringing a physical list or scratching my brain to remember them all, now I just take out my phone and pull it up on my MyChart account. I’ve often booked an appointment with my doctor the next day, or even the same day, all through MyChart.”
MyChart isn’t the only health-related application that can be found on Brian’s phone – he also logs his regular gym visits on the Anytime Fitness® app and views his activity and sleep data on Samsung Health, which communicates with his Samsung Gear Fit smartwatch.
“Take running, for example. Having a timer is one thing. But when you can see what pace you’re running at, what your heartrate is, and how many miles you’ve tracked that week, the results are right in front of you,” said Brian. “Not in the physical appearance of your body, but in terms of your quantitative health.”
Brian also shared that his aunts, having linked their Fitbit accounts, hold a friendly competition each week to see who can take the most steps.
“In the right form, technology can motivate people to live healthier lifestyles,” he said.
Because of applications like the ones on his phone, Brian has seen first-hand how improved mobile technology has made keeping tabs on his fitness easier, in recent years.
Now that Brian has started using MyChart to manage his care, he can’t imagine going back, stating that “once you get used to it, you wonder why you haven’t been using it all along.” His advice for anyone not on MyChart? Don’t wait to sign up.
“If you don’t deal with doctors a lot, you might not think that you need something like MyChart,” said Brian. “But as soon as you do need it, you’ll be thankful you have it.”
He knows for himself how true this can be, as well as how unexpectedly life can change. Now three years’ post-injury, he asserts that if he had already been signed up for MyChart when he hurt his back, transitioning to a world of clinicians and appointments would have been much less stressful.
To create a Lakeland MyChart account, visit www.lakelandhealth.org/mychart or call 1-800-LAKELAND to request an access code.