Online Patient Portal Use

Does your doctor offer an online patient portal for you to communicate with her? Have you decided not to take advantage of this important opportunity? You might be making a mistake.

More and more patients have the opportunity to access a growing portion of their electronic medical record directly through a patient portal. They can request medication refills and appointments, send emails to their care team, and even read the office visit notes generated by their doctors.

My employer does offer a patient portal but a number of my patients won’t take advantage of it. Sometimes they say that they don’t want to provide their email address. Elderly patients sometimes don’t have a computer at all. Sometimes they won’t say why they don’t want to enroll.

I do know that I like when that little box on my EMR dashboard is green, showing my patient uses the portal. I can email her directly about her test results and make sure all her questions are answered. She can see what medications and supplements WE think she’s taking and let us know if our records aren’t correct.

There was a report published recently that looked at online patient portal use. They found that over 60% of respondents said they did NOT use a patient portal. Most of those people also said they had never been offered one.

What I found interesting in this study was WHY people said they didn’t want to use an online patient portal. Patients wanted to talk to someone in person. Well, yeah! If I have something concerning or confusing going on I want to talk to a real person. But if all my labs are normal, shoot me an email. Oh, and also let me SEE my results (and download and print them too). That’s the bonus!

Clear and easy two-way communication between patients and their care team is very important. An online patient portal is one of many tools patients and physicians can use to facilitate communication. If you have the opportunity to sign up for an online patient portal please consider doing so!

QUESTION: Do you use an online patient portal? What has been your experience? If not, why not?

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4 thoughts on “Online Patient Portal Use

  1. I do and I use it frequently. I can access medical records and test results. It also reminds me of testing that needs to be done. I can also set appointments easily through the portal and speak to my care giver in messages. It’s awesome.

  2. Thank God I used my patient portal. I found the report from my mammogram on it and it listed something very strange and I needed to go back in for a repeat. My ob/gyn at the time hadn’t gotten back to me on having a repeat, so I called myself and questioned the report. So glad I did, it turned out to be cancer and I took the necessary steps to be still alive today. Please be proactive and get your portal up and running. In today’s crazy world anything could be overlooked, but if it’s your health, you should be the first to know.

  3. I love the patient portal! It allows me to
    stay in touch with my physicians and after 3 strokes that is very important to me. I even have my parents in another state using theirs they are in their late 70’s.

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