Patient Portal - The Increasing Demand

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The Healthcare industry is getting boosted through technological advancements. Recent trends that have propped up as a result of leading technological concepts like Big Data, Analytics, Internet of Things, and Machine Learning are remote healthcare services, wearables in healthcare, developments in research and studies, and innovations with an accelerated pace.

Patients are accessing their health data through Patient Portals. A patient portal is essentially a secure and robust website that gives online access to patients with their personal health information that can be accessed from anywhere. A Patient portal gives patients a single customizable point of access for different applications and information reserves that provide them tremendous value.

According to a study, eighty percent of patients access their data on a patient portal and about ninety percent of patients like to obtain record copies free of charge.

Patient engagement happens to be the centerpiece of quality care and clinical outcomes. It is imperative to make administration simpler and convenient for patients so that they can easily schedule appointments, change insurance or address information, or ask questions about their treatment.

Patients are welcoming this new change where they are being empowered through information and engagement. They like to be involved in their own recovery and know about their illness, ailments ad the treatment they are receiving. Patients are healthcare providers are both being benefitted by the improvements in patient portals as it leads to a change in almost every aspect of healthcare administration.

Some advanced features that are recently being added into patient portals allow patients to check their qualification for financial assistance, receive support for planning before a surgery and following-up after a surgery, and email their questions to the medical team for a nearly instant reply as in messaging.

According to a report from 2016 by Grand View Research Inc., the global patient portal market by the year 2024 is expected to hit USD 5.2 billion. The surge is being attributed to the increasing demand for better healthcare services, favorable government funding policies, and continual technological advancements all over the world.

However, some inherent glitches like data security and privacy and a high cost of the implementation of such portals and their deployment can hinder the growth in the forecast period.

In a survey at AHIMA’s 89th Annual Convention & Exhibit, researchers discussed the growing prevalence of patients getting to access their data through Health IT systems or Patient portals. The researchers revealed in the survey that about 82 percent of patients agreed to have logged into their healthcare provider's portal at least once. The same survey was conducted back in 2013 and then, only 5 percent of patients had said that they logged in to the patient portal by their healthcare provider.

Out of the patients who did not use their healthcare portals, were the ones who did not have the interest in managing or viewing their personal health information or had uncertainty in the way of using it. Many of the patients confessed that they could not even log into their portal, some said that the portal lacked navigability, while others said they were overburdened with the emails and reminders from the portal.

The survey also pointed out that it was becoming cheaper to get access to one's own medical health records. While in 2013, 65 percent of patients were charged for getting a copy of their records, in 2016 only 10 percent patients paid a price for the same. Half of these 10 percent who were charged a heath record copying fee were charged between $5 and $10. About 10 percent of the patients paid less than $5 and about 40 percent paid up to $25.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO, The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group, Atlanta, GA reveals that she has onboard staff members who promote the use of the patient portal at her healthcare centre by talking up the patients to use the portal, by telling them about the immense benefits of the portal, and by making the task easy for the patients.

EHR and Patient portals are on the rise and are leading to patient empowerment and engagement.