Doesn’t it seem faintly ridiculous that patients have to jump through hoops to get access to information that, since it is in digital format, would be so readily available to them? Today’s patients are quite accustomed to being able to access data on demand, from whatever location on Earth, as long as they have Internet access and a mobile device or laptop computer.
They can, for example, log into their financial institution’s website to check their latest details. Parents of school-aged children routinely access a portal developed by their school to get information about upcoming tests, new requirements, and so on.
Furthermore, the advent of email, text messaging, and social media updates has lead to people becoming accustomed to easy communication with one another. But think about how much of an effort it is for patients to communicate with a medical practice (waiting on hold on the phone to leave a message for a nurse practitioner, for example, and then having to wait more for a reply that might not come until the following day).
Pros of Allowing Patients to Have Access to their Electronic Medical Records
A major pro of patient portals is that they improve patient engagement. Engaged patients are more likely to stay loyal to a practice as compared to other organizations that don’t make much of an effort to connect.
Your staff can easily receive messages from patients over the portal, in a process that’s as easy as email. This cuts down on a lot of wasted time on both ends (patients forced to stay on hold to leave a message by phone, and staffers having to write down the message).
A patient portal reduces the total amount of time spent on the phone and can cut down on unnecessary visits. What’s more, it has been proven to reduce the number of no-shows.
Patients will be happier, since they can access their medical information using their own electronic devices, even when on the go.
They will also appreciate being able to check prescription information and request refills online. When patients need to schedule an office visit, they simply sign into the portal and make a request. This makes things easier for them as well as for your staff.
Finally, a patient portal eliminates one of the great drudgeries of modern medicine: patients having to fill out a big stack of paper intake forms before they have their first meeting with the doctor.
You can let them input their information through the portal (such as at a kiosk in your waiting area, or from the patient’s computer). They won’t have to fill in their address or list of allergies more than once, and your staff won’t have to transcribe information from potentially messily handwritten documents.
Related: Microsoft Teams Healthcare