Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 03, 2013

The Role of Patient Portals in the Future of Healthcare

As we get increasingly digital and Internet-savvy, more and more healthcare patient portals are cropping up, and thus, medical patients now have greater access to their health information than ever before. Patients can also be hands-on in supplying, questioning and correcting their data, which can help improve the accuracy of the data.

Patient portals are seeing success partly because the federal government is strongly backing them with its Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive program, which mandates that patients have electronic and timely access to their health information. Offering a portal enables patients the ability to monitor their information and suggest amendments as often as needed, at any time.

As suggested in “Personal Check: Patients the New Ally in Data Integrity Management,” an article in the May Journal of AHIMA, health information management (HIM) staff and clinicians can lead the digital healthcare data storing movement.

AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE and FAHIMA, suggests that AHIMA has a great vision of portals in the future of healthcare – a future where patients are able to access, carry and update their health information, from any place on the globe.

“Our goal as HIM professionals is to create health intelligence out of data, so that consumers can make better decisions,” Thomas Gordon said.  

Still, there are many healthcare organizations yet to get in on the action of patient portals. Experts in the field offer some key words of wisdom to help get them started.

Experts suggest that practices create a portal with a focus on patient collaboration and data accuracy and encourage patients to let the organization know if they find any inaccuracies in their data; prepare for a rise in requests for amendments and establish a process for reviewing and responding to the increasing requests; educate patients about the amendment process; and inform of what kinds of requests for amendments may be approved or denied, as appropriate and advise physicians to discuss test results or exam findings with patients thoroughly. In this way, patients can fully comprehend the content of their data.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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