Attendees from the ONS 41st Annual Congress were invited to write a blog post to share the Big Change they experienced as a result of attending Congress. Congratulations to Margie McDonal, MSN, RN, CBCN®, on submitting an honorable mention and receiving a free one-year membership!

By: Margie McDonal, MSN, RN, CBCN® 

As a result of the Elizabeth Rodriquez’s distinguished lectureship presentation on the patient portal at the 41st Annual Congress in San Antonio, I have increased patient portal use at Memorial Sloan Kettering. This has resulted in decreasing the number of patients reporting to the clinic unnecessarily.

Among the various uses of the portal, I have found it particularly helpful by implementing it for patients to send post-operative photos. Patients often call with concerns water trampoline with slide about bruising, potential of infection, and possible fluid accumulation. Just as the old saying goes, “A picture paints a thousand words,” the patient’s perspective of symptoms varies widely and these photos aid in neutralizing this variation.

As a result, I’ve had 3 post-operative patients (since returning from ONS Congress) who were assessed through their photos and saved a trip into New York City. This has made a huge positive impact on the patients and the clinic’s flow. There continue to be some challenges with patients who are not “tech savvy,” but after Liz’s presentation I am more apt to walk them through the process and build their confidence in using the patient portal.

As the chair of the Outpatient Practice Council, I am also sharing this experience with others who will take the information back to their departments. The potential for enhanced care is enormous!

Liz and I are both employed by Memorial Sloan Kettering, but ONS Congress provided an uninterrupted, informative session presented by Liz that I may otherwise not have been able to attend. Being out of the usual work setting has allowed me to refocus, reenergize, and reinforce my practice using the patient portal!