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Posted by mihirpatel at July 20, 2017 7:12 AM MDT

Why are Patient Portals Important?

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Why are patient portals important?

 Patient portals are online secure websites that provide access to individual medical records. However there are many other benefits of a patient portal that aren’t always highlighted.

 Reduce the number of no shows

Although there are a number of reason for the high number of no shows when it comes to healthcare. The most relevant to us is that people simply tend to forget. 23% of people forget to show up for their appointments if they have not received a reminder. The impact of a missed appointment extends beyond affecting the patient in question. “An appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two”, this means that if you miss an appointment, it takes away from other people possibly being attended to.  There is also the financial impact of no shows, it is estimated that surgeons can lose up to $500 every time a patient misses their appointment. Having a patient portal can help address these issues because patient portals can allow the implementation of e-mail reminders and also allow the ability for patients to schedule/re-schedule appointments if necessary. Increasing patient engagement ensures that both healthcare providers and patients are getting the most out of the interaction.

 Increase patient knowledge

If patients have access to their EHR’s they are can take a more interactive approach to their health. For example, after a patient takes a test you may have to make another appointment to address the results. However, with a patient portal you are able to send test results securely with notes so that patients can understand the results. As healthcare practitioners you want the people you take care of to be healthier, and knowledgeable patients are more likely to take control of their health than others.

 Improved communication

Patient portals allow the capability to increase the communication between patients and doctors. Many people find that the amount of time they actually spend with the doctor is much less than the amount spent in the waiting room. Quite often the reason for these short interactions is the lack of communication outside of the appointment. Patients feel much more comfortable speaking with their doctor if they have a person connection and the only way to build a better connection is through communication. This does not mean that you should be texting your Doctor asking about their plans for the weekend, but rather communicating your concerns.   Portals allow patients to email the doctors with specific questions and concerns prior to the appointment (or even after) so that they have more information and better understand patient concern.

 Many people hesitate with adapting patient portals because it requires a change in the way things have been done and the setbacks that may come with adopting new methodologies. These concerns can easily be alleviated with the right resources and type of portal, check out more information on healthcare portals here.

Healthcare practitioners have taken up the profession because they want to make a positive change in people’s lives through their health. Having the ability to communicate with your patients efficiently makes sense financially but also affect patient satisfaction and engagement. Patients will not only feel more comfortable, but also better communicate their concerns if they know that their doctors are invested in their health and the best way to show this is through better communication. 

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