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.
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.
Here are the Key Features of a Patient Access Portal
- Appointments can be scheduled in a snap of a finger (online)
- Pre-visit forms can be filled out automatically
- Personal health information can be accessed
- Payments can be made seamlessly
- Medical history can be viewed by any healthcare professional at any point in time
Now there are mainly two types of portals available – integrated and standalone service.
As the name implies, an integrated patient portal is one that collaborates with different tools and technologies such as electronic medical records, (EHR and EMR systems) or any other management software. Whereas a standalone portal does allow integration with such web-based tools. This one is mainly used for lab test results or scheduling appointments. Also, private labs, drugstores, and local offices consider standalone patient portals. Both types can be used to request prescription refills or patient-provider communication, online access, personal health record, lab results, pay bills, schedule appointments, keep tabs on medical conditions, and so forth.
There is no denial to the fact that patient portals are being adopted at a fanatic pace but the situation was not the same a few years back. The usage of Patient portals was quite less because of several other following reasons –
- The tool not being engaging enough
- Less medical information is being shared
- Providers offer patient portals featuring tons of complexities
- Communication via phone calls seemed more reliable than such own patient portals.
Do you think is it enough for healthcare providers to come up with such patient-centered care tools? Not at all, to make your patient realize the portal’s worth first you as a healthcare practitioner have to recognize the benefits and challenges offered by such patient portals and enhance them significantly.
2. 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
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.
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.
2.3 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.
2.4 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.
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.
3. Reasons To Choose Patient Portal Services
3.1 Multi-Way Authorization
The first and foremost aspect that must be included in a patient portal is an adequate authorization. Every patient must receive a unique set of credentials so that nobody can breach data and information. Have you ever considered using multi-purpose authentication? If not then you can think of using biometrics such as fingerprint or face scan or voice command as this would be easy for patients as well and they won’t hesitate in getting in touch with their healthcare professionals via the portal.
3.2 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.
3.3 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
4. 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.