While Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Practice Management software have kept physicians busy with their clinical and administrative documentation needs, health IT never let patients feel left out. Yes, I’m referring to the patient portal. Without a doubt, patients form an integral part of the care continuum and keeping them out of the loop would negate the axiom of better care quality.
Like almost all health IT applications, patient portals also have internal as well as external benefits associated with them. Ensuring patient safety and keeping the patients updated with their health information are two of the major examples of internal benefits of patient portals. We all know how information technology has revolutionized the world of Health IT, it is through the availability of these web based patient portals that patients can easily retrieve their health records, get lab results, request refills, and schedule appointments from anywhere, at any time. This eventually leads to better health management and utmost care coordination between physicians and patients. So along with EMR, we have another tool that helps in better care delivery.
’Today, we have smart phones and internet access almost everywhere. You simply have to login to the patient portal using your uniquely, personal credentials provided by your physicians, and there you go. With just a few clicks you can access your entire health information and connect with your physician whenever you want’, says a California based Health IT consultant.
One can simply not let go of the external benefits of patient portals. Not only has the cost of making redundant telephone calls and paying visits to the physicians decreased but also prescription errors have been curtailed to a good extent. More interestingly, without going through the conventional hassles, patient portals help ensure optimal connectivity.
’Why would u want to spend your bucks on making telephone calls or send mails physically if you want to make an inquiry, when you can use a simple internet connection to do so?’, says a California based physician.
One thing that we can certainly tell is that eHealth is the future of HealthIT. The applications like patient portals have simplified managing healthcare. This has not only resulted in enhanced patient safety but also ensured compliance with government’s regulatory standards. No wonder, patient engagement is one of the major objectives of meaningful use stage 2.