Patient Portal – Helping Patients Along the Way

Recently, during a discussion with my colleague I found out some impressive facts about patient portals. Over the last few years, patient portals have been completely transformed; no longer are they merely considered to be simplistic communication tools that allow physicians and patients to interact. In fact, these web based portals have come a long way to become a multi-purpose solution for patients. While EMR and practice management systems are meant to facilitate physicians on both clinical and administrative workflow management respectively, patient portals are programmed to provide patients with details regarding their entire clinical journey.

“Once the clinical and non-clinical procedures are completed, all information related to the patient in made available on the patient portal. Patients can simply login and view it online or even download it if they want. This has actually helped abate the gaps that existed in ensuring better care connectivity”, says a New Hampshire based physician.

Let’s talk about each of the clinical, administrative, and financial aspects individually. Patient portals enable patients to instantaneously access their lab results and the details of other treatments that the individual has undergone. This allows them to generate queries about their concerns and even verify the treatment details and get educated on a particular test or procedure. In a nutshell, patients have the liberty to access their health records from anywhere at any time. Hence, it would not be absurd to say that patients have an option to review their clinical summaries without having to visit their physicians in person.

“I consider patient portals to be one of the many means through which care connectivity is improving. Besides providing basic health related information, physicians also help patients get educated on various diseases and treatments”, says a Nebraska based health IT consultant.

Today, realizing that time is of essence, established vendors have provided patients with the option to streamline their administrative tasks on their end through patient portals. The finest portals allow patients to schedule appointments while sitting at home, without making prolonged phone calls, requesting prescription refills, fill in their medical histories, demographics etc before they visit the provider. Patient portals also provide physicians with their billing details. From providing the insurance details to co-pays, patient portals provide an analysis of all the major as well as minor financial details to the patients – allowing them to verify if the basis of bill generations is legitimate or not.

Therefore, one can easily establish that patient portals have become all-in-one solutions for patients. And with the passage of time, health IT would have a lot more to bring to the table.


One thought on “Patient Portal – Helping Patients Along the Way

  1. Of all the doctors my family currently goes to, only one is in a practice with an EHR (frightening). It does have a portal, but the practice NEVER volunteers that information to patients. When asked for access, the office manager points out that in 2 years only 5 patients have requested access, so why would you want to use it? Once in, it does have the basic features with a fair amount of information. However, lab results – even from the in house lab, just don’t show up (there is a place for them). And nowhere does it provide for patients to update their history. There is a place to ’email’ the doctor – and the doctor is pretty quick about responding. But this is a clear example of a patient portal that is not currently intended to accomplish much. And it will stay that way until attitudes at the practice change – perhaps with MU Stage 2.

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