As health care information technology (HCIT) advances, EHRs continue to be both a valuable asset for patients and a necessity for physicians. Patient Portals have increasingly become the interface between patients and their physicians.
So, with the capability of having access to one’s medical records, appointment, schedule, healthcare history, and billing, what will be some of the changes in patient expectations brought about by EHRs and patient portals?
- Easy access to doctors via the Internet
Patients expect that their doctor’s office works like all other businesses. They expect to extend their daily technology experience into healthcare. Patients use computers, bank online, shop online, research online, and they expect to have the same access and benefits when it comes to their doctor.
- Greater control and knowledge of information
The limitless waves of information on the Web can be difficult to understand without proper education and assistance. Patients will want customized information and advice based on their health records. Patient portals also offer them a way to openly discuss their symptoms and illnesses, and to acquire medical advice from their physicians.
- Full accessibility to health records
Patients will expect to use the portal for information about their prescriptions, lab results, and other clinical information. This information will need to be available anytime and anywhere, which will allow patients to take greater responsibility for their healthcare—a focus in stage 2 of meaningful use.
- Fast communication and other routine requests online
Because patients can communicate with their clinicians online at their convenience, they will expect to make appointments without having to go out of their way. They will also expect to receive messages such as appointment reminders, electronic statements, and lab results from their providers.
- Quick and easy electronic payments
We’re all familiar with online billing and how easy it is! Patients will benefit from this added perk, too. They will expect to be able to pay their bills quickly and easily through a secure payment interface, without having to fuss about checkbooks and paper trails.
Stage 2 of meaningful use places greater emphasis on patient engagement. A user-friendly patient portal will be needed to meet both future requirements and patient expectations. Make sure you are prepared.