In the digital age, technology access such as advanced Electronic Health Records (EHRs), health information exchange(HIE), Interoperability, telemedicine technologies, smartphone apps, and improving digital health literacy has transformed the way providers communicate to patients. It has streamlined and improved the way that providers care for patients. But, do we have an equilibrium in providing the same amount of care across the system?
The new regulations from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) aim to boost health information exchange, give patients more access to their health data, specifically on their smartphone. It also asks to implement new criteria for EHRs to make all patient data available through application programming interfaces (APIs), which will allow providers and patients to have access to health information. However not all EHRs are equipped with the same capabilities. Some providers may use advanced EHR with the latest features and some may use them just to ease the regular workload. Therefore, patients with valuable access get the whole juice and others are still on the other side of health equality.
To fix this issue, Patient portal software and mobile health applications are two features that the ONC rule highlights, and both give valuable patient access to every individual in the system.
Patient Portals are an effective platform that has been shown to improve patient engagement across the healthcare system. The majority of hospitals, clinics, and other medical practices use patient portals to serve a variety of functions such as login and access personal medical information, request medication refills, receive lab results, email physicians, make payments, and schedule appointments.
Here are a few benefits of utilizing a simplified and optimized patient portal software.
- Reduces frequency of missing appointments
One of the most significant benefits of patient portals is that they can drastically reduce patient’s efforts to get or schedule an appointment. Gone are those days of holding your breath in overloaded waiting rooms before the receptionist who answers the calls and schedule the tedious appointments. With the help of a patient portal software, patients can review schedules and book appointments with the click of a mouse or a touch on the screen. Not just an appointment, patient portals come equipped with the ability to send patients email reminders about upcoming appointments. The patients also appreciate the ability to more easily schedule and book appointments from anywhere and anytime.
- Improves patient engagement
Patient portals can become the extension to which patients can get involved to manage their health proactively. This is because the patient portal allows them to stay more informed with their demographics, review personal health records (PHR), view lab results and education material, request prescription refills and appointments/referrals, and send secure messages related to clinical questions.
- More efficient with personalized touch
Patient portals can be used as a more efficient means of completing several daily administrative tasks that typically require several staff members. Providers can also customize their portal with personalized brandings, and value system. Providers have the complete control of its design, color scheme, and how it would appear to their patients.
- Improved communication
Many patients often feel that in-person physician visits are too brief and non-conducive. With the help of patient portals, patient-physician relationships can be strengthened through more frequent contact. Portals allows patients to email or instant message doctors about small concerns that would otherwise necessitate an often costly in-person visit. Through easier and more frequent contact, patients will likely feel more satisfied with their physician and overall care, leading to better outcomes in the long run.
- Patient-centric mobile applications
Providers can ask patients to download free mobile applications to communicate securely and remain actively involved in the management of their health. The notifications are delivered to their smart-phones even when they are not logged in, which results in increased patient engagement. This patient engagement technology act as a catalyst to go beyond the meaningful use core measures related to patient engagement, otherwise difficult to achieve.
Patient portals could narrow down the gap in health disparities among the most vulnerable patients, patients with low access to health facilities, who are much likely to fall under the disparities gap when compared with patients and those who were more health literate. Patient Portal provides equal opportunity to easily engage with doctor and ask questions about health concerns or medications, or to quickly refill prescriptions and get lab results.
iPatientCare Patient Portal Software facilitates providers to stay connected to patients securely and empower them to take charge of their health. If you are also looking to enhance your patient engagement, then you must jump in – to schedule a demo for iPatientCare’s patient engagement solutions.