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How Patient Portals are Improving the Virtual Healthcare System

Written by Archna Oberoi | Dec 11, 2017 1:13:00 PM

Over 75% of consumers are interested in receiving virtual healthcare services but only 1 in 5 can have access to it, according to a survey results by Accenture.

Certainly, tech-enabled virtual healthcare system has been offering some creative ways for care delivery. However, affordability and accessibility has been the biggest challenges, still waiting to be addressed. Amongst the various, existing models of virtual care delivery, one that is reaching the plateau of productivity is Patient Portals.

Patient portals are platforms that offers a secure, continuous connection between the patient and healthcare providers. This may include enabling patients to access administrative, clinical, and financial functionality, tools for maintaining personal health, storing health records, educational information, and more. Patient portals are provided by hospitals, physicians, or any healthcare organization.

Depending upon the type of services rendered, patient portals can be standalone or integrated with EHR or healthcare specific vendor.

EHR-Integrated Patient Portal: These portals, also known as EHR-tethered portals showcase all patient related information, which includes, but is not limited to patient’s summary, problem confronted, medication list, health vitals, lab results, F2F appointment scheduling, facility for conducting eVisit (video conferencing) etc. Such portals also render option to publicly ask for assistance from various providers

Standalone Patient Portal: These portals work in collaboration with Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) systems. HIE mobilizes the clinical health information amongst various healthcare information organizations, generally in a specific region,  community, or hospital.

How Patient Portals are Offering  Level Playing Field to Patients and Providers

1. Increased Patient Engagement with e-Visits

An e-visit is a technology-enabled, remote consultation set-up between a patient and a physician (or any healthcare provider). This may include an elementary diagnosis, prescription requests, taking consent over a process or medicine etc. Such model of care delivery is generally rendered through chat (text, audio, or video enabled).

Benefits

  • eVists reduce the chances of no-follow up by the doctor or patient, thereby saving time and travelling cost at both the ends.
  • During virtual visits, patients feel that doctors pay more attention to them, as compared to in-person visit.

2. Appointment Booking with Healthcare Providers

Virtual healthcare portals connect patients to verified doctors within vicinity and book an appointment, at a convenient time and location. These online platforms enable patients to explore about the doctor, their professional experience, specialization, consultation fees, and reviews from other patients that helps to choose the best doctor for a problem.

Benefits

  • Patients can choose from the available time slots and days for consultation.
  • Care is not bounded to geo-location when it comes to finding the best from a catalogue of doctors.  

3. Maintain Electronic Health Records Safely

Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a record of health-related information of an individual that is saved electronically (on cloud or on a device). This information is used by doctors or other healthcare provider to which the patient is connected to, for an informed medication.

Benefits

  • Patients can share their health records of all times, saved electronically, with the doctors on the go.
  • There is continuous monitoring of health treatment being given so that doctors as well as patients can examine the overall improvement in health.

4. Manage Chronic Diseases at Low Cost

“Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for most of our nation’s health care costs, according to CDC.”

For chronic disease like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, stress etc., patients generally keep a track of their health vitals and their variation so that doctors can improve their medication accordingly. For every visit to the doctor, time and cost (travelling and consultation) is always a bigger consult for patients. This is where, patient portals enabling eVisits help.

Benefits

  • To consult doctors for minor issues, patients can opt for convenience of eVisits.
  • Doctors can manage their availability through different mediums, in less emergency scenarios.

As patient portals are built with better functionalities to schedule appointments, manage minor illness, store health records for better medication, they can certainly improve the pace and quality of care delivered to patients.

ALSO READ: How mHealth Apps Aid in Chronic Disease Management

While for patients, these virtual care models are a way to access care, it is turning out to be a great revenue model for healthcare providers as well. For non-emergency scenarios like a visit follow up, prescription refills, sharing the lab results etc., providers can offer low-cost consultation models through eVisits.  

Meanwhile, healthcare providers can align their patient portal strategy through mobile apps and continuously keep a track of possible functionalities that can improve better care. Daffodil has been offering its technology services to startups and reputed healthcare providers in developing advanced patient portals like iSikure, Lybrate, Medidoc. To build yours, contact us to share your mHealth app development requirements. 

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