Patient Portal Communication Technology
Linda M. Johnson
University of Phoenix
HCS/490 ??“ Healthcare Consumer ??“ Trends and Marketing
Yvette Thompson, BSN, MHSA, MBA
December 20, 2010
According to the New York Times, Washington is about to embark on another ambitious government-guided effort to jump-start a market in electronic health records. The program provides a textbook look at the economic and engineering challenges of technology adoption. In the world of technology, inventors are hailed as heroes. Yet it is more subtle forms of innovation that typically determine the impact of a technology in the marketplace and on society. Clever engineering, smart business models and favorable economics are the key ingredients of widespread adoption and commercial success (Wood, Smith 2004).
Electronic Medical Records enables customers to manage patient flow, immediately access patient records in-house or remotely, electronically communicate with the referring physicians and securely send consult notes and clinical data. It allows users to easily review and complete patient histories, past visits, current medications, allergies, labs and diagnostic tests. Its registry reporting and clinical decision support features makes elevating the role of the system from passively collecting information to actively helping providers give the best medical care possible.
All too often doctors spend time with patients discussing symptoms, illnesses, and providing medical advice for which they routinely do not bill for. Why Perhaps a fast paced office with a waiting room of patients and falling behind in the day??™s schedule; too many things to remember beyond the ???Chief Complaint.??? The patient can log on to a HIPAA compliant and secure web site and complete much of their pertinent information on-line prior to their in-person visit. Data is exchanged in a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant and secure fashion ( Amatayakul, 2009).
Patient Portal is a software program allowing patients and doctors communicate easily, safely and securely over the Internet.? Patients are given secure passwords that allow them to log into their physician??™s system to see their own private set of documents including labs, diagnostics, statements and messages. Doctors can automatically remind patients for their health maintenance reminders, procedure due dates and also send them patient statements and lab results electronically minimizes the need for patients to call the office.? Communication skills are on top of the patient??™s wish list for doctors and nurses (unfortunately, there is little research about patient??™s satisfaction with caregivers). Patient??™s satisfaction is more closely linked to communication than their technical skills (Tarrant, Windridge, Boulton, Baker, & Freeman 2003).
Patient Portal communication modality utilizes leading edge technology to promote healthcare and make it easier to perform preventive care. It is an exceptional tool to communicate with patients. The Patient Portal gives patients 24 hours a day and 7 days a week access to their medical information from the comfort and privacy of their own home or office (Amatayakul, 2009).
Utilizing the patient portal communication software technology, providers have faster and timelier interaction with the patient, and no wasted time playing ???phone tag??? with patients. Instant medical history provides an additional level of secure communication between patient and provider, allowing providers to be informed and pro-active at the time of the encounter
Patient portal communication technology allows patients to view prescription information, lab results, diagnostic results and appointment information in a timely manner. Patients can also request prescription refills, send and receive messages to and from the doctor or nurse, complete health assessments, examine their statements to see their balance and much more.
One effective way of using this communication mode is that its user friendly even elderly patients who may not directly use a computer are recognizing that it is an important tool. A patient portal communication mode can even be made using large font, big buttons on a touch screen, voice commands, and sound enhancement. However, ensuring the security of the patient portal is paramount. The organization should therefore provide at the portal specific information about its privacy policies and a statement giving patients the assurance that the web site hosting the portal is secure. Another advantage is providing patients with access to their health information and the ability to perform various health-related tasks offers a win-win for patients, clinicians, and healthcare organizations. Empower patients to make smarter and better decisions about their health, which will result in better outcomes and lower costs.
The disadvantages of using patient portal services are lost productivity, but the advantages go beyond that. Although family physicians are good at multitasking, they should avoid trying to fill in templates during a patient visit. That time should be spent talking with and treating the patient. Using templates interferes with both the normal flow of open-ended questions and the physicians focus on the patients reactions and mannerisms. Patients would like physicians to look at them, not at a computer screen, when they are telling their stories. Moreover, most templates use yes or no questions that patients could easily do themselves if they were allowed. The patient might not be able to read the materials. If this is the case, other options will be needed. About 10 percent of the population chooses not to do their histories on computers. Physicians sometimes try to confirm all the answers to the questions try to duplicate the work of the computer with obvious ill effects on efficiency.
Patient Portal Technologies, Inc. assists hospitals in increasing financial performance by providing services that improve and enhance the patients experience before, during and after their hospital stay. The company provides its products and solutions to hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the entire United States. According to the health industry fact, the National health expenditures are projected to reach $3.6 trillion in 2014, growing at an annual rate of 7.1%. Patient Portals services are cost effective and flexible (www.patientportal.com).
Ideally, the practice using a high quality patient portal program allows the patient to upload their records to a central repository. The continuity of care between different doctors of different specialties, in different locations, becomes a reality for the self-help health- conscious consumer. Technology has moved the traditional face to face environment to a more virtual concept that has proven a more collaborative effort to bridge the gap of limited communication between the patient and the health care industry.
Amatayakul, Margaret. hfm (Healthcare Financial Management), Feb 2009, Vol. 63 Issue 2.
Patient Portal Technologies, Inc. (Feb, 2009) http://www.patientportal.com
Tarrant, C., Windridge, K., Boulton, J.,Baker, R., & Freeman, G., (2003,June 14). How important is personal care in general practice British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 326, 1310.
Andrew F. Wood, Matthew J. Smith – Technology & Engineering ??“ 2004, New York Times. Article.