MADISON (WKOW) -- People who become eligible in the next round of vaccinations could very well receive a message from their health care provider or another organization through their MyChart accounts, inviting them to sign up for a vaccination appointment.
Epic's MyChart system is a way for people to keep track of their health information in one place. Within the last year, use among patients globally has exploded as more people turn to virtual ways to manage their health.
"I know the work we're doing, whether it's around COVID-19, or managing health in general, helps patients live longer, better, healthier lives," said Epic product manager Sean Bina.
In February and March of 2020, about 2 million people were signing up for a MyChart account each month. By summer, that number was on the rise, and by January 2021, about 6 million people were signing up each month. Currently, there are 120 million patients in the U.S. communicating with their care teams via MyChart.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Epic has made tweaks to the software to keep up with the new changes that come along. One of those changes has been adding tools to manage COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
Even if you don't have a MyChart account, health systems and other organizations can send you links to sign up for vaccination appointments, or view COVID-19 testing results.
When it comes to vaccination appointments, once you're eligible, you'll receive an invitation.
After that, all through MyChart, you can answer eligibility questions, find available appointments for your first and second shots, and even schedule transportation to an appointment if you need it.
Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin uses the MyChart system, and says they are always encouraging their patients to ask questions if they need help navigating the online tool.
"One of the reasons that we are the organization with the highest MyChart use among patients, literally in the world by percentage, is because providers really encourage patients to use the tool," sad Group Health's CEO and president, Dr. Mark Huth. "We're right here to help people if they have questions."
27 News interviewed Huth at the beginning of March. At the time, he said that they had given 6,000 vaccines over the last few weeks. Half of those were scheduled through MyChart.
[Patients] really enjoy the convenience of it, they really enjoy the fact that they can see all of the options that are available to them as far as appointment times and dates, and they can select the one that works best for them," he said.
Patients who use MyChart can also link multiple accounts, even if they have doctors through different health systems. As long as they use MyChart, health information will all be in one place.