Patient portals are virtual outlets in which patients can view their medical status in the most current form.
Before we talk about their benefits, it is crucial to define the term. The term ‘Patient Portal’ is a computer program (an interface) by which patients can access their health charts from their phones and computers.
Why do we need patient portals?
Because of the excessive use of smartphones!
Technology, the underlying factor, supports the idea of patient portals. None of us likes to be a patient, but when we get sick, we become patients whether we like it or not. It is critical to make the journey of a patient as painless as possible. Patient portals are here to do just that!
Since test results and prescriptions are not easy to carry around, it is time for technology to take over. Patient portals have a tremendous portability factor. All we need is access to the Internet and specific applications installed on our phones!
As a result, we get patient engagement as the byproduct.
Medical billing companies have access to medical records working on behalf of the providers. However, with patient portals, they may instantly collaborate with the patients for the dues.
1. Access Health Data
While EHRs organize medical records and may cause clinician burnouts, patients demand access to their medical information 24/7. A patient portal allows them a safe passage to their medical records; it not only allows them to go through their charts, but they can also view their lab reports from time to time.
Health systems undergo sophistication and adherence to technology as we move forward.
According to a report by the American Hospital Association (AHA), 92% of hospitals allowed patients to access medical records in 2016 as compared to 43% in 2013.
Most hospitals favor patients to download healthcare records, request changes, and send referral summaries to medical billing companies.
2. Update Personal Health Information
With a patient portal, one may easily update their medical record. It keeps track of procedural difficulties, side effects of prescription drugs, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure levels to point in the right direction in the next visit.
Precisely, it is where patients may find everything related to their health and beyond. Since our condition may deteriorate without prior notice, the ability to track patient information in real-time seems brilliant.
3. Send Messages to Doctors
Messaging on these portals is secure and under lock and key.
When there is a breach, your practice may come under the impact of HIPAA, which is not good.
With secure systems in place, what happens is, when a patient sends a message to a doctor, it goes through a set of security layers of the software. Only then, a patient gets through to their doctor, share the history and move toward diagnosis and treatment.
Medical billing outsourcing companies on behalf of physicians may also benefit from such portals as third-party intermediaries. If they send a message to a patient on behalf of the doctor, the collection of copays and out-of-pocket costs becomes easy.
4. Receive Alerts for Test Results
When we are expecting test results, we struggle with the unnecessary stress of having to wait.
Well, not anymore. We have patient portals to thank.
Now, we can get alerts the moment our results are ready. It means less hassle and more recovery. More importantly, we may access lab reports repeatedly if needed. It is what we call convenience at our fingertips.
5. Book Appointments
Online appointments have become increasingly important to patients. No one has the time to call and interact with the front desk to schedule an appointment – we are all too busy. Patient portals have the set ability to book appointments without any human interaction.
A survey reports, “40% of scheduling happens after work hours, which confirms the need for systems with scheduling ability”.
Another survey says, “77% of the patients are regular Internet users and thus consider online appointment scheduling important. And by 2020, 64% of patients will be using digital healthcare tools.”
So healthcare technology is where the solution is!
6. Clear up Accounts Payable
Collecting payments from patients is a struggle for practices. Medical billing services make the job easier. However, patient portals have the ability to make it even easier.
68% of users prefer to pay electronically. Therefore, exploring the possibility further with patient portals simplifies the task to quite an extent. Health IT gurus predict an increase in patient engagement software in the future. Do you think health care providers are better off with patient portals?