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Patient Portals Commonplace in Healthcare Organizations, Survey Finds

July 27, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Nine out of 10 healthcare leaders surveyed in a recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll said that their organization offers a patient portal.

The remaining 10 percent that do not offer one said they are working to implement one soon or have the software as part of their EHR (electronic health record) but it has not yet been implemented. The poll was conducted this week, with more than 1,750 applicable responses.

Also of note, of the 90 percent that offer a patient portal, 43 percent accept patient-generated health data (PGHD) for clinician review. Additionally, 37 percent reported their patient portal does not accept PGHD for review and the remaining 20 percent were unsure.

In an insight article accompanying the survey results, Pamela Ballou-Nelson, R.N., MSPH, Ph.D., principal, MGMA Consulting, noted that while she is an advocate of patient portals, as it stands today, many she has observed “are clunky and offer nothing more than secure message exchanges.” For a patient portal to categorically assist in patient activation, it should include the following five functions, Ballou-Nelson wrote:

  • The ability for patients to view their health data, such as immunizations, lab work and imaging results
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Online billing
  • Prescription refill requests, which can eliminate the need to make a phone call
  • Data update capabilities, so that patients can upload blood pressure readings and/or other patient generated health data

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