Patient portals are becoming extremely popular in the medical industry for several very valid reasons. First and foremost, they help enhance the patient-doctor relationship by giving the patient a more active role in their health care. In other words, they encourage patient engagement.
A 2019 Plos One study backed up the fact that people who use portals are more engaged with their doctor. They surveyed 165,000 people who had complex medical conditions. The results showed that the patients who used portals were less likely to go to emergency rooms and more likely to see the doctor for an inpatient visit.
HealthIT.gov has also done some studies on patient portal use. Pre-COVID-19, they found that 40 percent of patients who had access to a portal used it at least once from January to April 2020. Since then the pandemic has greatly increased portal usage. There are so many advantages today to use your doctor’s patient portal. For example, research showed that patients using portals are able to:
- Gain ownership of their wellness
- See their health records and view test results
- Interact with their healthcare providers
- Request prescription refills
- Update insurance and personal information
- Access their health records 24/7
- Message their doctor directly rather than playing phone tag (do keep the messages short and to the point)
- View scheduled appointments
Patients need to be realistic about their expectations when using the portals as even though the portal is very effective in communicating with your doctor, the patient must realize that the doctor will most likely not see the message right away. Therefore, don’t use the portal for emergency or urgent situations. And it’s important to use the portal messaging wisely. The Journal of American Medical Informatics Association did a study in January of 2022 and found that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, doctor portal messages rose by 157 percent. That’s a lot to add to an already very busy doctor! Keeping your messages short and to the point will help decrease the time it takes for your doctor to respond.
Another point to keep in mind is that when viewing test results, you may be seeing the results before the doctor has had a chance to review them. You could easily misunderstand the results. Yes, it’s good to view the results, but wait for your doctor consultation for the full explanation. Don’t take the test results out of context!
Bottom line is that patient portals are the best way to take ownership of your health care. If you haven’t signed up or logged into your doctor’s portal, give it a try – we’re sure you’ll find it both informative and very useful!
Creating an account is quick and easy with Privia Providers. Click here to create a free portal account today.