Giving Thanks for Patient Portals – #HITThanks

Posted on November 27, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

My cup of healthcare thankfulness was overflowing last week, as back-to-back doctor’s appointments went smoothly and didn’t leave me with any unpleasant and unexpected diagnostic surprises. My thankfulness even extended into the IT realm as I received word from both my daughters’ pediatrician and my primary care doctor that both offices (on separate EMRs) now offer patient portals. Though I might occasionally grouse that patient portals don’t yet lend themselves to truly coordinated care between different types of providers who may use different IT systems, I truly believe they are game changing when it comes to increasing provider efficiency and patient satisfaction.

I was so happy to get this pamphlet in the mail alerting me to patient portal availability.

I was so happy to get this pamphlet in the mail alerting me to patient portal availability.

No longer will I have to wait 10 days for lab test or EKG results. No longer will I have to wait impatiently by the phone for the pediatric advice nurse to call me back regarding treatment for, thankfully, run-of-the-mill illnesses and complaints. Secure messaging will ease my worry when it comes to my kids, and the anxiety I often have waiting for results of any kind.

I can now happily say that the majority of my family’s providers – pediatrician, primary care physician, and surgeon – all offer some type of patient portal, which leaves me even more inclined to evangelize the need for one the next time I’m at my dermatologist.

Though I have perhaps lamented in the past that patient portals don’t do a whole lot of good if one patient has to use several for multiple providers, they certainly are a step in the direction of true interoperability.

On a side note, I’m also thankful that my primary care physician has finally seen fit to offer reliable wifi throughout the office. There is nothing more frustrating than to be kept waiting in the main reception area or exam room with no connection to phone or Internet. I wonder if wifi access has become a point of contention when it comes to patient satisfaction.

I hope that many of us in the industry can point to one or two things we are thankful for due to healthcare IT. What are yours? Share your #HITthanks in the comments below.