Bringing the Patient Portal to the Bedside

UConn Health is rolling out an interactive patient tool by rolling it in to hospital rooms, offering patients a new level of access to information specific to their stay.

Nurse at bedside with patient using tablet

Nanette Pink, nurse manager on the UConn John Dempsey Hospital's orthopedic/surgery floor, shows a patient how to use MyChart Bedside. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

Patients on the UConn John Dempsey Hospital orthopedic/surgery unit are the first to try MyChart Bedside, a tablet-based, patient-facing technology that gives them instant, real-time access to personalized information about their admission and helps build a personal connection with their care team.

Group portait of nursing staff in empty patient room with MyChart Bedside unit
From left: Amanda Darcey, Darcie Schwab, Agata Polkowski, Joshua Del Rio, Taya Kleis, and Nanette Pink are among the nursing staff who helped roll out UConn Health’s MyChart Bedside application on the UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s orthopedic/surgery floor Nov. 7, 2022. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

MyChart is the patient portal within the Epic electronic health record platform. UConn Health debuted 22 MyChart Bedside tablets on the floor Tuesday to begin a pilot, and the early reviews are favorable.

“The patients we already started on [Tuesday] were over-the-moon excited that they could be part of this,” says Nanette Pink, the nurse manager who led the rollout along with members of UConn Health’s information technology staff. “I think that it’s a real testament to how hard our Epic team worked at putting it together because it is so user friendly. They really thought out what would be best for the patients.”

They may not look like much more than tablets on wheels, but they’re securely tied into the electronic health record specific to the individual patient’s stay. Patients are asked if they’d like to use the MyChart Bedside tablet while they’re in the hospital. Those who do will have access to their daily schedule, vital signs, lab results, plan-of-care notes, nursing notes, and mini-profiles of their care team.

Screen grab of MyChart Bedside
The “Taking care of me” screen in UConn Health’s MyChart Bedside shows patients their care team during their hospital stay.

“It really helps promote transparency for the patients and helps them become more invested and part of their health care decisions,” Pink says.

Patients also have access to Elsevier, an education-based teaching platform that serves as a resource for their care. For example, it can provide details on the medication a patient is or will be taking.

“Nursing uses the patient fact sheet on the MyChart Bedside application as a checklist to go over major features and topics with the patient,” says IT project manager Alka Sharma. “Nurses assign patient education, and content linking offers contextual education that enables users to click an information icon in various features to access more details on procedures, medications, diagnoses, and results.”

Group portait of information technology staff in empty patient room with MyChart Bedside unit
From left: Alka Sharma, Taya Kleis, Dr. Dirk Stanley, Brian Lysik, Aviva Elkayam, Darcie Schwab and Naomi Donat are part of the information technology team behind UConn Health’s MyChart Bedside application, which debuted on the UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s orthopedic/surgery floor Nov. 7, 2022. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

Other offerings to help make their stay more enjoyable include interactive games and soothing sound.

“We’ve already got ideas for phase two of things we want to add, such as mindfulness and mediation,” Pink says. “We want to add some breathing exercises and mobility exercises for patients while they’re in bed. We really want to tailor this toward what the patient needs to make it an interactive experience.”

That could include additional educational videos and digitizing consent forms to reduce paper. The plan is to use the coming weeks and months to perfect the devices on the fifth floor, then ultimately expand to other areas of the hospital.

“IT is grateful to leadership, the nursing team and IT teams for their enthusiasm and efforts,” Sharma says. “Together, they partnered to make the MyChart Bedside pilot a success for the patients and UConn Health!”