Patient portals – secure online websites that give patients convenient, 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere over an Internet connection – are a fast-growing trend.
This is the last article in our series highlighting technology innovations that are transforming healthcare. Read the fourth article on telesurgery.
Patient portals – secure online websites that give patients convenient, 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere over an Internet connection – are a fast-growing trend. They provide doctors with a way to communicate with patients, family members, and other doctors about medicines, treatment plans and lab results, and to answer questions patients may have. They also allow patients to request prescription refills, make payments, view recent discharge summaries, and schedule appointments.
When healthcare organizations implement patient portals, they can enhance patient-provider communication, reduce the volume of phone calls, provide support care between visits, and – most importantly – improve patient outcomes.
Today, patient portals aren’t just a “nice to have.” They are a requirement that hospitals and providers must meet in order to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2 for “timely access to health information” and the ability for the patient to “view, download and transmit” their health information. A patient portal also has great potential for meeting Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements that are expected to focus on self-management and shared management of healthcare.
But the benefits of a successful patient portal can only be realized when the portal integrates with an electronic medical records system. Additionally, portals need to be up and running 24x7, which requires a robust data connection as increasingly more patients sign up, review results, and download files and videos.