Why Patient EHR Portals Can Lead To Better Health

Though many doctors maybe late to the party, this year patients can expect more doctors to join banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and probably even supermarkets and hairdressers in connecting with their clients/patients online, according to Consumer Reports.

As a doctor it is your duty to give your patients the best access to care and their information as possible. By having your patients actively monitor their electronic health records you can cut down on visits which saves your practice time and money.

• Portals put your health in your patient’s hands. Ehr’s and patient portals “break down the hierarchical doctor-patient relationship, where the patient’s health information goes to the doctor and the doctor controls when and how the patient sees it,” says Dr. Julie Hollberg, chief medical information officer at Emory Health Care in Atlanta. “The hope is that portals will engage patients in their own health care and change the relationship to more of a patient-provider partnership.”

Managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and congestive heart failure is easier when doctors and patients have access to the same data. A study by Kaiser Permanente researchers found that patients with diabetes who emailed their doctors received better care compared with those who didn’t. And just being able to access their health data whenever they want can help them remember details about their health or improve understanding.

• They’re convenient. You can get the information you need when it’s convenient. Avoiding phone tag — either when a patient is setting an appointment or getting information — is another perk. Depending on the ehr system you chose to use, all emails may go to administrative staff members, who then direct them to the appropriate person or department. Or patients may be able to send emails individually to the front desk for appointments, your nurse or assistant for prescription refills, the billing office if they have a payment question or directly to you the doctor.

• Accurate records. Patients remember less than half of what they’re told in the office or on the phone, experts say. But if the information is in their electronic health record or an email, they can read it, digest it and refer back to it when needed. If they spot any errors, they can alert your office.

• Faster feedback. Under the government guidelines, lab results must be posted in the patient portal within 96 hours of the office receiving them, whether you have seen the results or not. That means no more patients waiting for your call with results or sending them to your patients by snail mail. It also eliminates the practice some doctors have of notifying patients only if something is wrong or just leaving patients with a vague “everything looks good.”

• More rewarding visits. It may seem impersonal, but online interactions can improve the doctor-patient relationship, Consumer Reports says. Portals let patients stay in touch with doctors more frequently. It can even “extend” the office visit. Patient portals are not meant to replace face-to-face visits, though. Even for the most tech-savvy patient, there will always be times when that office visit or phone call is best. Those options aren’t going away.

If you are looking to upgrade from your old paper records to electronic health records and you want to know more about the government subsidies that are offered by the HiTech act give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260.

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