The Value of a Patient Portal: A Customer’s Perspective

by | Oct 4, 2013 | Patient Engagement

Patient Engagement is not just a new “buzz word” in healthcare, but its here to stay.  Healthcare providers do not need to look far to find examples.  HITECH Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Patient Centered Medical Home, and Commission on Cancer standards are proof that patient engagement will be required in the new care model.  These new models are about giving patients electronic access to their personal health information and personalized patient education materials, or more simply said “Patient Engagement”.  To deliver on these new requirements, providers will need to look at technology solutions like patient portals.  Clinics are rapidly adopting patient portals to meet these new initiatives and portals are transforming the way providers and patients interact.  Let’s take a look at a few clinics and how their adoption of a patient portal has improved their patient’s experience.

Lynn Sawyer

Lynn Sawyer

Patient Registration: Interview with Lynn Sawyer, Practice Administrator, Hematology Oncology Consultants, P.A.

Hematology Oncology Consultants, P.A. is an established practice with six oncologists in Orlando, Florida.   Hematology Oncology Consultants, P.A. adopted their patient portal in 2010 and one of the many reasons they adopted a portal is they were looking for a solution to capture complete patient data in a structured way.   In their new solution, Hematology Oncology Consultants, P.A. require all patients to register online from the comfort of their home.  “Since adopting the portal our patients complete the registration forms (demographic and medical history) from the comfort of their home, which results in more complete and legible information,” said Lynn Sawyer, Practice Administrator.  Lynn also mentioned the portal helps reduce cost, “we’re saving money by eliminating printing costs and labor costs and patients love the process.” Dr. Philip Dunn stated, “the portal is reducing the workload of our staff, plus I also like that I have more complete information that I can read before patients come into the office.”  Satisfaction surveys show that patients love the on-line registration process as well, with 90% of patients agreeing or strongly agreeing that the registration process was better than filling out paper forms.  “It was an excellent experience that made me believe that all other interactions with the office and the doctor would be perfect, “said clinic patient Rosley R.  The right portal solution can make a great first impression and help improve the patient to provider relationship, as well as get you on your way to meeting all the new patient- centered initiatives.

Barry Russo

Barry Russo

Electronic Patient Health Information: An interview with Barry Russo, CEO, The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is an established practice with 18 physicians in Fort Worth, Texas.  The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders adopted their portal in 2010 with the vision of meeting “Meaningful Use” and giving patients electronic access to their health records.  The practice provides patients with electronic copies of their health information via visit summaries with no staff intervention.  “The portal has generated cost savings for The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders by no longer printing visit summaries and eliminating staff workload associated with printing those visit summaries”, said Barry Russo, CEO.  To engage patients in their care, providers must inform and educate them about their care.  The use of technology, but more specifically, patient portals will be instrumental in delivering this new care model.  The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has witnessed this effect and it’s also reflected in their patient satisfaction surveys.  A survey conducted across their patient population reflected 89% of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders patients say receiving their personal health information is valuable and important to them.

Kim Woofter

Kim Woofter

Electronic Patient Education: Interview with Kim Woofter, CEO, Michiana Hematology Oncology

Michiana Hematology Oncology, PC is an established practice with 15 physicians in South Bend, Indiana.  Their decision to adopt a patient portal in 2011 was driven by the required “Meaningful Use” objectives.  Another important reason was that Michiana is very passionate about giving patients electronic access to their “patient specific” education materials.  “Our portal delivers education materials directly to our patients based on where they are in their cancer journey,” said Kim Woofter, CEO.  “Patients receive clinic and manufacturer materials specific to their diagnosis and medications and the education module allows our patients to receive the right information, at the right time, from their providers.”  Additionally, the portal provides Michiana a safe and secure environment to keep patients educated on their specific cancer treatment.  “The manufacturer product specific materials educate the patients as it relates to their treatment, but also allows us to free up valuable space and saves on printing costs,” said Kim. “I tell my manufacturer representatives to digitize their materials and work with my portal to ensure patients receive the materials when it matters most.”