Just like the rapid evolution of the EHR, patient portals have become the norm for providers and patients alike. Along with eliminating a lot of paperwork and the digitization of administration, patient portals can also improve patient care. But how exactly can patient portals offer benefits for both patients and providers?
Actively Involving the Patient
The transition of the healthcare system to a value-based care model makes the patient more involved than ever in decisions regarding their healthcare. However, although 87% of patients desire electronic access to their health records, only 29 % of healthcare institutions across the US have adopted patient portals according to research from Athenahealth . Particularly, in the world of image intensive specialties, by making use of patient portals and image enabling them, patients can upload imaging off CDs from home ahead of an appointment. Physicians then have access to the imaging before the exam, resulting in a more productive visit.
According to many patients, consultations can sometimes be too brief and impersonal. Because of increased productivity, physicians have more time for individual patients to clearly communicate, instead of rushing through the consultation. Even in fields like radiology, where physicians were often thought to be “in the dark-room,” patients are becoming more and more interested in receiving results directly from the physician and communicating through a patient portal.
Encouraging Post-Consultation Communication
A study from Boston Medical Center has shown that out of 6851 patient reports, 33% of recommendations made by radiologists were not followed up on. Giving patients easy access to their studies through a patient portal is a key opportunity to increase the impact of physicians in successful patient treatment. Research has also shown that patients are more likely to pay within a shorter period of time and to pay in full after consultations when offered a patient portal. Furthermore, through an automated process with patient portals, appointments can be made, rescheduled, or cancelled with just a couple of mouse clicks, which again provides more comfort to its users.
Eliminate CDs for Good
St. Luke’s University Health Network is using Ambra to achieve patient care goals. Historically, medical images had been provided to patients and referring physicians on CDs – a costly and time-consuming process as patients needed to schedule a pick-time for their images and travel in-person to the patient records office. Today, CDs and DVDs are being phased out and medical image upload time through the cloud takes less than three minutes. Once a patient shares medical images with St. Luke’s, they are given the ability to create an account to store medical images in a personal health record and upload imaging if necessary.
Patient portals offer significant opportunities for productivity, are a great tool for putting the patient at the center of care, and have a very positive impact on the patient follow-up process.
Will you be at SIIM17 and are curious about image-enabling your patient portal? Swing by booth 407 for more info.