As patients become more and more interested in engaging and communicating with their healthcare providers online, the demand for portal applications will only increase. Patients are looking for innovative ways to access their health information and care providers – what better way than online patient portals?
Portals are healthcare related online applications that allow patients to interact with their healthcare providers through secure websites or integrated electronic medical records (EMRs). These applications can give patients the ability to request prescription refills, make appointments, receive medical reminders, view billing statements, and ask providers questions about ongoing treatment regimens (2). The key is engagement and it’s a growing trend among individuals who expect the most out of their provider‐patient relationships.
In the realm of healthcare, patient portals have revolutionized the way patients manage their treatment and recovery. However, their impact on healthcare providers cannot be understated, especially in the area of physical therapy care. Compliance is a significant challenge when it comes to ensuring proper recovery during the physical rehabilitative process, and physical therapists have a lot to communicate and monitor, from home exercise regimens to post-surgical contraindications and body mechanics. One way that healthcare providers can leverage patient portals to address these issues is by using them to send important messages directly to patients and monitor their compliance both at the clinic and outside of it. By doing so, physical therapists can substantially improve the quality of care they provide, which in turn leads to improved patient outcomes. Additionally, patient portals can help expand the reach of practices, making it possible to provide innovative solutions for patients who may be geographically inaccessible, such as those seeking urgent care Manhattan Beach. The downstream effects of using portals in this way include increased efficiency and productivity and a reduction in administrative overhead costs.
So, you may well ask: is now really the time to integrate this type of technology in my practice? In a recent survey conducted by Intuit Health, 73% of respondents said that they would use an online communication application to pay medical bills, communicate with their physician or physician office, make appointments and view lab results (1). More than 40% said they would consider switching physicians in order to obtain such access. Research such as this makes it clear that patients are eager to adopt such applications and now is the time for providers to get on board.
The use of portal technology is inevitable as patients take control of their health and demand two‐way communication platforms from their providers. As we innovate around ways to increase the quality of care provided to patients, the integration of secure portals should become a mainstay for effective clinical practice.
1. Shinkman, R. 2011. Americans want more online access to physicians, FierceHealthIT, http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/americans‐want‐more‐online‐access‐physicians/2011‐03‐07.
2. Terry, K. 2011. Patient portal use becoming an inevitability, ForceHealthIT, http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/patient‐portal‐use‐becoming‐inevitability/2011‐04‐23.
This guest post was co‐authored by Bronwyn Spira, P.T., President of Force Therapeutics and Mark Anthony Fields, Ph.D., M.P.H, Digital Media Associate of Force Therapeutics. Force Therapeutics is an online suite of solutions tailored for the busy physical therapist. Force Therapeutics can be found at www.forcetherapeutics.com, www.facebook.com/forcetherapeutics, or www.twitter.com/ForceTherEx.