The Value of Healthcare Portals for Patient Engagement

JonathanCatleyBy Jonathan Catley, Online Sales & Marketing Manager, MD Connect
Twitter: @MDConnectInc
Twitter: @JonathanCatley

More and more, doctors and patients are relying on the internet to interact with each other. Using healthcare portals accessible on the web has revolutionized communication and substantially reduced the number of phone calls that are needed.

The experience of one Montana patient, is typical. He pointed out that, “If I need a prescription renewed or have a question for [the doctor], you hop on the portal, and his nurse usually has an answer back to you within an hour.”

Are Patients Willing To Use Portals?
According to, a survey conducted by Xerox showed that both boomers and millennials are very open to using healthcare portals to give and receive medical information. Millennials grew up with electronics and are at home with the internet. Over 43% said they would use their smartphones to access information. They showed the strongest interest, over 57%, in reviewing their medical records.

More than two-thirds of older patients have chronic conditions that require visits to the doctor. In fact they account for two-thirds of the U.S. healthcare budget. Over 50% of people in the boomer age group said they would be interested in getting access to medical care and information by using a portal.

There is no question that both patients and doctors want to use the portals. Here is a look at how they will continue to revolutionize the patient and doctor relationship in the coming years.

Communicate More Effectively
Having electronic records stored online lets both the physician and the patient look at what is recorded. Both can more easily spot trends. For example, blood sugar spikes or cluster headaches might be happening during periods of family upsets. Knowing the correlation can help with creating an effective treatment plan.

If a patient is worried about how his new prescription is affecting him, he can easily connect with the nurse or doctor to ask if what he is experiencing is normal. It is quick and easy, and lets the doctor makes changes early. If the process needs to be done by phone, the patient often just waits it out instead of calling because it takes so much effort.

Reduce the Number of Phone Calls
Patients can book appointments quickly online. This substantially reduces the number of calls the front desk has to field during the course of a day.

It helps streamline the process of working patients in for a visit, especially when combined with robo-calls to remind them it is time for their next appointment. While the ability to talk to a live person is appreciated by patients, having the ability to accomplish certain things online adds another great layer of customer service to patients.

Get Prescription Refills
With healthcare portals, it is easy for a patient to request that a refill prescription be sent to the pharmacy. He can do it online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever he becomes aware that he is running low.

Likewise, physicians and staff can approve refills at any time, making it more likely the pharmacist will get the ok for the medicine in a timely manner. It can also help to reduce patient wait times, since prescription refills can be handled outside of the patient’s office visit.

Share Records with Specialists
Portals simplify the process of asking a specialist to review a patient’s case. This results in better care and getting expert advice quickly. According to the blog on Healthcare IT News, the most advanced portals provide accurate, easy-to-use data for physicians, as well as the ability to share it securely with specialists.

Healthcare portals are making doctor-to-patient and doctor-to-doctor communication easier, quicker, and more accurate. It results in better diagnosis, more consistent care, as well as less frustration and more trust on the part of patients.

About the author:  Jonathan manages the sales and marketing efforts for MD Connect, Inc; a 100% healthcare focused digital marketing agency. With over 10 years experience in the industry, Jonathan is a senior marketing and demand generation leader, focused on building market awareness and increasing exposure that generates new revenue for the business. He has been building agile, streamlined and efficient marketing channels, with much of that experience involving: digital marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, web marketing, social media growth and PR.  This article was originally published on MD Connect and is republished here with permission.