What is a Patient Portal ? Its Benefits & Challenges

A significant transformation has been observed in the healthcare industry – all thanks to the ever-evolving technology. In fact, healthcare workers from all across the globe have started embracing all the aspects of technology such as telemedicine, secure online portals, online patient portals, EMR- electronic medical records, immersive technology, and many more. Out of which Patient portal has been the need of the hour and yet the much debatable topic among business owners. Also, the statistics state that nearly 40% of people have started using their healthcare data through mobile phones and smart apps.

As we discussed, the following post will focus on clearing the air about what is a patient portal and what is it meant to do? How is a patient portal created by a reliable custom healthcare software development company beneficial for your healthcare business in the long run? We are also set to discuss What are the common challenges faced by healthcare providers when using patient portals? So, let’s get started!

1. What is a Patient Portal?

A patient portal is a portal that is capable of meticulously managing Patient’s health with all the track records it already has or the ones that your healthcare professional has fed into the record system. This secure healthcare system is like your personal healthcare professional. It takes care of all such aspects. In addition,  the portal also keeps your contact information updated so that the doctor in charge exactly knows whom to inform.

This will be more clear with an example where you can assume that you have a full-time nurse by your side. She does everything concerning your health right from booking doctor’s appointments to referring prescriptions, analyzing test results, keeping account of your medical history and all personal health information, if you are allergic to something, and similar other information, etc. Today, the advancement in technology has been increasing to such an extent that you can visit your doctor virtually with the help of a patient portal. In other words, you no longer have to visit the doctor every now and then for a minor wound, as it is possible via patient portals. You don’t even have to utter a word, your portal will speak for you to the doctor. Overall, patient portals do play a significant role in enhancing patient engagement with health care providers.

The patient portal market was valued at US$ 2,185.71 million in 2019 and it is projected to reach US$ 8,938.75 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.8% during 2020–2027.

Global Patient Portal Market

With a CAGR of 18.8% from 2020 to 2027, the patient portal industry is estimated to increase from its 2019 valuation of $2,185.71 mln to approach $8,938.75 mln. – theinsightpartners

2. Key Features of Patient Portal

  1. Appointment scheduling
  2. Viewing bills and making payments
  3. Filling out pre-visit forms
  4. Sending HIPAA-protected messages
  5. Sign-up and login
  6. Patient account and dashboard
  7. Telehealth
  8. Easy Access to Patient-Info
  9.  Easy Payments

2.1 Appointment Scheduling: 

With the help of the patient portal, one can book online appointments with the doctor one wants to consult without visiting the hospital and waiting in the queue. The app also shows the availability of the doctors and their schedules. 

2.2 Viewing Bills and Making Payments:

The patient portal shows you the bill once you have consulted a doctor or have taken any sort of treatment. You can check the bill and make online payments which are secure and flexible. This is a transparent feature of this portal which shows all the medical spending in one place.

2.3 Filling Out Pre-Visit Forms: 

Before visiting any doctor, hospital staff asks you to fill out a pre-visit form and write down all your concerns in it which can take a bit of time and you will have to sit in a queue for the doctor’s checkup after filling that form. But, with a patient portal, you can do this procedure online which means that by the time you reach the hospital, your pre-visit process is done.

2.4 Sending HIPAA-Protected Messages: 

With the patient portal, you can send HIPAA-protected messages to your healthcare provider and insurance provider.

2.5 Sign-up and Log-in: 

The patient portal enables users to sign in and log in to get access to their healthcare details.

2.6 Patient Account and Dashboard: 

There is a patient dashboard with every patient account on the portal which shows their current treatment, prescriptions, and appointments along with medical history.

2.7 Telehealth: 

Telehealth helps patients to have frictionless communication with the doctors, decreases in-person hospital visits, and reduces response time.

2.8 Easy Access to Patient-Info:

The next feature is accessibility. If there is no accessibility in regards to health information then there is no point in having such online platforms. The portal acts as a national coordinator between the patients and medical professionals. Right from offering educational materials to refill prescriptions, to providing patients with self-management ways of dealing with their health. Not to mention that all this patient health information has adhered to HIPAA Compliance and other regulations.

2.9 Easy Payments:

Another aspect to take into consideration is easy payment options. The world is moving and with digital money everyone wants to roam cashless. So introducing easy payments for healthcare businesses will add convenience to the app.

 In fact, with easy payment options, making payments for insurance support, paying for lab results or any other medical payment is pretty easy. One can feel rest assured with secure and convenient payment options.

3. Benefits of Using Patient Portals

Benefits of using Patient Portals

Now that you know what a patient portal is. It’s time to unveil the advantages of using a secure online website. Of course, you do get to access health information technology 24*7, that’s the most obvious benefit. But apart from these, there are several others. Which we will be going through further in the post!

But before that let us once again go through the core health services of a patient portal. It allows you to have direct contact with the healthcare professional to receive instant messages regarding appointment bookings, ordering prescription refills, paying bills, checking lab results, medical record history, immunizations, vaccinations, allergies, online checkups and whatnot!

With the help of patient portals, you can easily take care of patient’s health and in addition, high-end engagements, streamlined workflow, enhanced experience are strong points of patient portals.

Some of the vital benefits of the Patient portal are – 

3.1 Communication

By using patient portals, communication becomes more effective between healthcare organizations and their patients. Here one requires a portal and strong internet connection to coordinate with their health care clinicians at any point in time. And since the portal  use does enable one to fill in their personal information, medical history, allergies, it becomes way easier for the doctor to communicate and prescribe the appropriate solutions. Basically, they can easily understand what exactly the patient needs.

Communication is very important if you want to improve patient care. Making such portal use can be considered for the greater good. 

3.2 One-Stop-Shop

Another advantage of using a patient portal is that it acts as a one-stop shop regarding health information. Here you get everything from your recent lab results to EMRs and Electronic Health Records, request prescription refills, annual health care expenses, and so forth.

Here healthcare professionals have to ditch the paperwork and are no longer required to waste time in finding relevant prescriptions or bills as everything can be found on patient portals. All you require is a strong internet connection.

3.3 Patient Care is the Ultimate Focus

Earlier healthcare organizations were supposed to don multiple hats. Apart from taking care of their patients, professionals were pretty much indulged in administrative and management tasks. Fortunately, after the dawn of platforms such as the patient portal, things pretty much changed. Physicians are no longer distracted by administrative tasks and everything is taken care of by health care organizations electronically.

At present, they can focus well on offering a high standard of care. 

3.4 Reduced Medical Errors

Another common yet crucial advantage of using the patient portal is that human medical errors can be reduced to a great extent. The key is to try finding a reliable healthcare app development company that can offer the best possible fee for service from their doorsteps. Here whatever information the patient portals provide is pretty much on point and accurate. So there is no scope for any misinterpretation, all the parties including patients, healthcare professionals are well-informed. Therefore prompt and appropriate decisions can be made in a short span of time.

3.5 Safety

Lastly, It is advisable for patients to maintain social distance and these patient portals aid them successfully by offering their medical services while sitting at their respective homes.

Also, these portals have succeeded in decreasing the flow in the hospitals and the contagious infection can be controlled to a great extent.

4. Challenges Faced While Implementing Patient Portals

Challenges Faced While Implementing Patient Portals

After all, the patient portal has been raised from the technology of course there are certain challenges that you may have to face sooner or later.

4.1 Difficulty in Adapting to Patient Portal

When customers choose not to include a patient portal, both the practitioner and the patients lose the game. In such a scenario, older patients will be losing out on possible advantages. Additionally, care providers must spend additional time reviewing material with patients that they might get via the portal.

However, convincing individuals to opt-in is one of the most difficult difficulties for suppliers of such web – based tools. Even if a physician recognises the advantages, this does not guarantee that his patient will. According to a 2017 research, despite the fact that over 90% of clinicians give accessibility to patient portals, just 30% of people use them.

Convincing patients to utilize these technologies might be difficult for a variety of factors. However, the AMA reports that 57% of patients do not believe they are necessary. If a majority believe this, it will be tough to convince people to opt-in. This implies they will lose out on useful resources, and physicians will be wasting time maintaining these portals.

4.2 Only For Web

Another significant challenge is that these portals are significantly designed for web browsers and not mobile devices. Today with the increasing need for mobile apps, several healthcare organizations do realize the fact that if they want to survive they must come up with a quick fix.

4.3 Not Promoting Them Enough!

Lastly, a patient portal is a kind of a product or a commodity that must be promoted in time. You can start by explaining the significance of patient engagement and then promote the portal. Try to focus more on how the tool ensures the best patient-provider relationships.

5. Final Remarks

As for the benefits and challenges in the healthcare industry discussed above, it is okay to conclude that health information technology is far from flawless, and this is true of patient portals as well. While portals offer significant healthcare advantages, caregivers must surmount many obstacles in order to make portal utilization sustainable. Patient portals, on the other hand, may play a significant role in enhancing patient participation through learning and a well-thought-out strategy.


What is the Purpose of a Patient Portal?

The main aim of a patient portal is to offer patients 24-hour access to their personal health information from anywhere. With the use of a patient portal, they can get health information such as recent doctor visits, medications, discharge summaries, lab results, and more.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Patient Portal?

Some of the major advantages of a patient portal are: 

  • Improved communication with the doctors
  • Better healthcare management
  • Convenient access to medical records
  • Better ability to track health

Some of the major disadvantages of a patient portal are: 

  • Risk of data breach
  • Limited access to patient
  • Information overload
Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.


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