Enabling Integrated Patient Care with Patient-Centered Portal Design & Implementation

Caucasian doctor and patient using digital tablet in office

The patient portal is one of the key resources you have in your practice to engage with your patients on a routine basis and help them feel empowered to manage their care. A lot of these patient portals were just whipped together overnight to help providers “check the box” as fast as possible to meet the requirements of the HITECH Act and qualify for additional CMS “Meaningful Use” payments. Primarily created just to provide patient’s access to their medical records, many of them lacked even the most basic functionality required to support a meaningful patient experience – and they were all wrapped up in an awful registration process.

Fortunately, many leading Oncology EMR vendors recognized these shortcomings and began years of correction in product development to improve their portals to support patients in a more practical way. They made minor improvements to the registration process. They added a calendar and enhanced lab displays. In short, they tried to catch up with leading patient portals used in a more generalized medical setting.

And that’s where progress with the Oncology EMR portals ended…

At least for the most part, these vendors neglected to put development effort into the actual integration of portal functionality to other parts of the workflow.

Since 2008, Navigating Cancer has been filling a critical gap in oncology care to create a better patient experience. We created the first patient-centered platform for oncology and expanded the traditional view of the patient portal for oncology into a deep, robust patient relationship management system.

We paid attention to automation. Of course, it’s important to design the workflow with the oncologist and the care team in mind, but it’s even more important to put patients’ needs first. Because we made important design priorities at the beginning to focus on patients first, the Navigating Cancer portal includes automation that puts patients in the center of their care and relieves the care team from doing a lot of routine tasks.

With the Navigating Care portal, patients are encouraged to be more active in their care by responding directly to communications. They can easily view appointment schedules and have access to education that is relevant to their diagnosis and treatment. When it’s easy to do, they are engaged, accessing information that is important to them, while enabling the care team to focus on delivering actual care.

And we know when patients are actively involved in their care, they have better treatment experiences and, often, more successful outcomes.

We know this because we have supported more than one million patients and thousands of cancer care providers in an EMR-agnostic environment with our patient relationship management system.

We built a portal that also delivers targeted and automated patient education to further improve patient satisfaction, medication adherence, and outcomes. Because data is tightly integrated with Navigating Cancer, there is no need for the practice to trigger this activity, saving staff significant time and additional effort. 

As one Navigating Care portal patient described, “This resource gives me access to education for my illness, other tips/tricks and even spelling of things I need so often. For me, there is nothing better than to have my information at my fingertips instead of waiting for a call back.”

A multi-center study (published in 2017 at ASCO) found patients who received targeted education experienced a mean increase of 50 days on therapy and 13% increase in one-year survival.

When patients are at the center of their care, it brings a whole new level of value and outcomes.

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