Meaningful Use Stage 2 and Patient Portals

Patient Portals: A Path to Increased Productivity and Happier Patients

Linda Harder

Physician offices barely began to pass Stage 1 of Meaningful Use requirements before it was time to gear up for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, where a key proposed requirement is to increase the electronic information shared with patients.  Maryland Physician spoke with two primary care physicians who have experienced patient portals first hand.

Patient portals are not new.  David Rowe, global director of Product Marketing at GE Healthcare IT, remarks, “We’ve had a patient portal for more than 10 years, but it was dormant until Meaningful Use reawakened that marketplace.  It’s a way for physician to provide patient information easily and quickly.”

Portals Aid Two Proposed Measures in Stage 2 Meaningful Use
Patient portals help physicians meet two proposed core measures of Stage 2. The first measure requires providing a clinical visit summary to at least half of your patients within three business days. The second measure requires physicians to electronically provide lab results, medication lists and the like to patients upon request.

Most patient portals provide a range of functions that may include:

  • Prescription renewals
  • List of medications
  • Lab and other test results
  • Clinical summaries
  • Personal medical history
  • Secure SMS messaging
  • General health reminders
  • Appointment requests
  • New patient registration

Not Just Another IT Headache
Patient portals may seem like just one more IT headache. Yet the early experience of doctors who have implemented portals in their office – sometimes under protest – suggests that once the hurdles of implementation and training have been crossed, the office will be more productive, with happier patients and providers alike.

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