Residents looking to have better access to their health records may find use in a free local application.
PatientLink, an Oklahoma City based medical software development company, recently launched MyLinks, a free of charge internet application that allows patients to gather and manage their health records from different medical clinics onto their phone or computer. Since the application launched in 2018, the company has partnered with nearly 33,000 health care providers across the country, including 13 different clinics in Norman.
When a patient signs up for MyLinks, they are able to search for their physician or clinic by name or by city. Then, the application connects them with their clinic’s patient portal to help obtain their medical records. The data is encrypted and kept in secure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standards, according to the MyLinks website.
Debi Willis, CEO of PatientLink, said MyLinks is beneficial because it helps patients organize their medical records from different clinics into one place, including medications, allergies, medical conditions, vital signs, lab results, family history and immunizations. The application also helps patients share their records with family members and caregivers.
“Most patients have lots of doctors, and you will probably have your data kind of scattered among different health clinics, and none of them 100% accurate data,” Willis said. “If you’re using MyLinks, you can pull your data and get a single picture of how you’re doing… If you have three different clinics and you have medications in those three different clinics, when it pulls the data in, it will line the data up and put it in this nice little table to show you your medications.”
While Willis founded PatientLink with an emphasis on helping physicians and clinics filing and accessing patient records, Willis said the inspiration for MyLinks came after a difficult time for her personally. Within the span of four years, her sister died of brain cancer, her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers and then Debi was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Willis said her diagnosis focused her more not only on the physicians’ side of things, but on how to help patients manage their health, too.
“I decided, ‘Hey, it’s time now to do something to help patients,’” Willis said. “We had been helping doctors for over a decade at that time, and I felt like patients really needed their data to see what was going on. For me, personally, all the doctors I went to were at different clinics, so my data was kind of scattered all over.”
Willis said services like MyLink have become even more essential amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The application recently added new features, including a questionnaire that helps patients assess their risk of COVID-19 and a symptom tracking feature for patients who suspect they may have the virus.
“Right now, I think more people are having to care for themselves because there are very few people who actually want to go to a doctor’s office,” Willis said. “So that means you’re caring for yourself at home, and you need tools to do that.”
Willis said they are looking at adding other features in the future, including helping people find free health care or food bank resources.
“I don’t think the lessons we have learned during COVID-19 and the use of technology in times like this are going to fade away when COVID goes away,” Willis said. “I think people are relying more on technology to help them with everything.”