Secure online portals are a form of digital engagement that play a major role in fostering this Patient–Provider communication. These portals have become increasingly effective in enhancing communication not only between patients and provider but also between providers and employers or even attorney (in a specific use case). These portals are secure online platforms that provide immediate access to the patients on their health records, schedule appointments, pay bills, and enable secure conversations with providers……
There are mainly four different types of portals – patient portal, employers portal, referring physician portal and attorney portal.
Each portal is unique in the kind of benefits and functionality it provides to the clinic. The adoption of portals by a practice largely depends on the type and need of the practice.
For example, the most well-known portal, the patient portal, creates a way in which patients can “talk” to their provider, from the comfort of their home. Patients are now looking at electronic health records (EHRs) and digital health tools like portals to create a complete patient experience.
PrognoCIS offers an Employer Portal seamlessly integrated with with their EHR.
The Patient Portal:
Patient Portals are secure, online connection via which a patient can view his/her recent health checkups, medications, allergies, discharge summaries, immunizations and lab results.
Patient Portal enhances patient-provider communication, supports care between visits, empowers patients to take care of their own health and finally improves patient outcomes. Patient Portals are a boon for the providers too. It increases their productivity and saves their time – physicians can have a quick overview of the patient’s medical history in the patient portal before examining them. Few advanced patient portals also allow patients to exchange email with their healthcare team, schedule non-urgent appointments, download forms, update their contact information and check benefits and coverage.
Patient portals are the key to effective communication between provider and patient, as they “…engage patients in their care,” said Lesley Kadlec director of health information management practice excellence at AHIMA in a Health IT News article. “You can send them reminders, get test results quickly, facilitate online conversations, and refill medication without a phone call during office hours. The beauty is 24/7 access and portability”.
Driving convenience in healthcare is a becoming imperative, and making services available via the patient portal is essential for that.
“The portal allows you to be virtually more available to your patients than you otherwise could be,” said Thomas Selva, MD at University of Missouri Health Care. “You can avoid a lot of unnecessary office visits that could have easily been handle with a message or with a little communication. Clinicians can avoid forcing the patient to take time out of their day to come to your office for a visit that wasn’t necessary. Again, that only improves their satisfaction with your care.”
Key benefits of patient portals:
- Scheduling appointments, viewing lab results, financial statements, and prescription refills
- Sending messages such as appointment reminders, electronic statements
- Communicating with physicians about recent tests and treatments
- Easy and quick online payments for both biller and patient
- Patients feel accountable for their health and well equipped with information to interact/ engage with their providers.
- Secure messaging features can help boost chronic disease management.
According to CDW’s 2017 Patient Engagement Perspectives study, almost 70 percent of patients have become more engaged with their healthcare in the past few years.
The survey interviewed 200 patients and 200 providers, including physicians and assistants, to understand the impact of digital tools on communication outreach efforts. The study found that patient portals and telemedicine are helpful in increasing patient engagement.
These tools aren’t just for desktop computers anymore, either; healthcare organizations are leveraging patient portals for mobile use, and patients are responding.
According to a recent HIMSS survey released during its 2016 conference, 58 percent of healthcare professionals connect with their patients via mobile-optimized patient portals.
Patient portal is a solution to fulfill MACRA legislation needs of meaningful use and patient engagement. By 2015, 95 percent of hospitals and 85 percent of office-based physicians offered patient portal access, according to ONC data.
Despite higher rate of adoption of patient portal by physicians, its usage at the patients end remained very low. A 2017 analysis from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that only 15 percent of patients interacted with the portals their providers offered.
Healthcare professionals can play a vital role in encouraging patients to log in to their Patient Portals by educating them about its ease of use and benefits associated with their overall health.
To facilitate positive patient engagement, find an EHR with a robust patient portal. Learn more about PrognoCIS’ Patient Portal features here.
The Referring Physician Portal:
A referring physician portal is critical to the growth of a practice. This portal is not only beneficial for the referring physician but it also benefits the primary care physician by keeping him/her in the loop.
With this portal, a Referring Physician can interact in real time with any specialist. It is especially important in diagnostic, lab and imaging centers
In a particular scenario – A Referring Physician will write a script to a patient to get one or more scans done at an Imaging Center. These scans can then be transported from the Imaging Center to the Referring Physician via the Portal. If there is no Portal, the images are shared via parceled CDs and DVD’s which is a time-consuming process.
This portal allows referring doctors and their staff to access reports, images, results of a diagnostic test, request appointments, manage patient eligibility, and much more.
In this age of healthcare reform, almost every medical practice is challenged to make the most of its time. The specialists who utilize this portal make the most of their time and that of the other physicians by providing quick, easy access to necessary reports and documents, enabling the decision making and treatment process to be much more comprehensive and accurate.
A robust referring physician portal helps streamline patient referral and intake process, in addition to supporting timely results distribution for completed exams. The best portals automate workflow for the staff as well as for the physician. It also provides a collaborative way to manage the referral process and relationships with referring physicians.
Physicians also benefit from access to patient pre-exam instructions, education materials, and patient prior exams and missed appointment history. Referrers can conveniently reach out to practice staff for additional information through the portal’s sophisticated online chat feature.
The Referring physician portal also achieves the functionalities of interoperability by creating an open health exchange information system and sharing information with clinics and providers with the aim of improving overall health outcomes.
This type of portal allows for the secure transfer of information across networks for consultation. These portals are great tools for creating an intelligent health network. The key benefits of referring portals are:
- A secure HIPAA compliant method of referring doctors and staff to view reports and images, request appointments, and manage patient eligibility
- Automated workflows that promote efficiency amongst providers and staff.
- Streamline patient referrals and report (lab, charts) distribution.
- Create a network of collaboration with other concerned physicians for detailed information sharing, providing second opinion and creating a holistic treatment plan.
- Integration with other portals for more interoperability.
- Access clinical data of patient from any connected source.
- Improves productivity by reducing the need for phone calls, faxes, and follow-up visits.
PrognoCIS’ Referring Physician Portal is part of its EHR package along with the other portals.
The Employer Portal:
This is a very important and beneficial portal for employers and providers dealing with occupational medicine and OSHA related health issues. Employers in this case, requir
e access to employee’s health details – pre-employment screening, drug screening, drug randomization and more.
This portal also gives providers the opportunity to share reports related to personal injury, illness and accidents.
The Employer Portal allows employers (who are registered with the clinic) to view various records, documents, and billing related statements that are shared by a clinic. This information provides the employer with a holistic view of the employee’s health condition and the treatment provided.
Employer portal also helps in streamlining billing and claims procedure. Employers can track aging buckets, claim invoices, payments and much more. The Employer Portal is a great way to manage finances. Not many EHRs offer similar functionality because the Employer Portal is made specifically for Occupational Health practitioners
PrognoCIS offers an Employer Portal seamlessly integrated with their EHR.
Attorney portals are beneficial for attorneys who deals with patients with health complexities, which may be related to any of these areas – Occupational Medicine, Pain Management, Orthopedic Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine or Internal Medicine
Attorney portal provides quick and easy access to attorneys on medical documentation related to individualized cases – personal injury or workers compensation.
It also provides fast and secure access to patient treatment along with a secure and easy access to medical billing
Using the new PrognoCIS Attorney Portal, the medical clinic, the patient, and the attorney can securely share information and be connected to get the best healthcare service possible.
Healthcare Portals Are the First Step in creating Patient – Engagement
Electronic healthcare is the next frontier in patient – provider and sometimes employer and attorney engagement. The effective use of all portals is the first step to creating a secure communication and providing quality care. With the focus of healthcare systems on enhancing patient engagement, increasing interoperability and providing a secure, stable access to financial statements, these healthcare portals serve as supplements to the value-based mindset.
It’s important to note that meaningful use of digital medical tools is mandated by law in MACRA, which is why finding an EHR that knows what they’re doing and works well for you, is very important. From patient portals to employer portals to the newly developed attorney portal, finding an EHR that knows what they’re doing and works well for you, is very important. For a successful practice, it is vital to have an EHR that is aware of the benefits of digital patient engagement and communication tools.