The Patient Portal is a secure, online method for patients to interact with information that their own healthcare provider allows them to view, as relevant to the Provider’s own EHR and Practice Management systems. It can include a patient’s lab results, current medication lists, scheduling of appointment functions, and even secure messaging and questions to the provider.
These Portals are evolving as the Electronic Healthcare Record has enjoyed greater acceptance and use by providers. You may have used a patient portal yourself, as you interact with healthcare providers. They have the potential to increase a patient’s involvement with their own care.
However, functioning and features of a patient portal have met with resistance from some medical care providers and/or lack of use by patients. Providing certain records and lab data as an online “open book” to patients can have risks and consequences. Responding to patient messages and questions is an additional task for providers, and not reimbursed.
First, please consider any interactions you may have had so far with a Patient Portal from your own provider. Visit sites describing patient portals, such as web pages available from HeatlhIT.gov, especially if you have not had personal access to a Patient Portal. You may want to web-search on terms such as “patient portal acceptance” and “pros or cons of patient portal”. Use your information literacy skills and evaluate the age of references too, as this technology is a recent one.
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