Patient Portals combined with electronic health systems (EHRs) work to induce ease of access to health information at reduced cost. Patients can log-in to their portals, set up a meeting with the physician, update their health records, request a prescription renewal and pay bills. Similar are the benefits for providers who can virtually visit and communicate their patients online.
However, healthcare providers today are working with narrow profit margins. They are working intensely to deliver the best quality at a minimal fee to their patients. An increase in their earnings is only possible if they treat more patients in less time. It requires a reduction in the time of waiting, diagnosis and treatment. Besides, they require patient portal technology to fulfill Meaningful Use program criteria.
“Patient portals empower individuals to become more involved in their own care, which may lead to better outcomes and lower costs”, a statement by The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) summarizes.
Time is money
Providers are required to spend a lot of time discussing symptoms with their patient’s and for those still using papers, filling in charts. Similarly, they have to spend time maintaining and retrieving patient’s records for every visit. This time and effort is not something that healthcare providers are paid for. Through online patient portals, patients can fill out the initial information from their homes and their physicians can peruse at their convenience. In addition, when the patient visits the provider, their electronic health records are available beforehand. At average, four to five minutes of a clinical visit are saved in this way.
When patients send a request for visit, management can adjust time slots and resources accordingly. Similarly, when a physical visit by the patient is not required, the physician can give virtual advice, saving costs on both sides.
Patient portals eliminate spending on data entry
Data entry clerks, working for a healthcare provider used to cost around $25,000.00 annually. This huge cost is saved when patients themselves update their health records via the online portal and enter their basic information on eForms.
Print & postal expenditures are saved
Sending patients the registration packets bears the cost of printing and dispatching. It generally takes up to 2 days for the packet to reach the patient; the issue arises in that the provider needs that material in order to execute tasks. Now patients fill in the required information online by signing in to their health record page and can view reports from anywhere without requiring a printed copy.
Similarly, electronic versions of health education literature are shared on patient portals so that patients can stay informed about specific diagnosis’s.
Savings on telephone and fax bills
It has significantly reduced telephone and faxing expenditures by harnessing the power of e-messaging. Even sharing health information with a referral doctor is achieved electronically through EHRs and the patient portal technology which otherwise required information to be printed on paper and hefty faxing.
Prescription refill & renewal authorization on personal computers
It is easier to keep track of updates in a secure patient portal environment. Patients are provided with passwords and logins, which they can use to access their portals, regardless of time and space limitations. Request and authorization for prescription refills can be handled from the luxury of one’s home on a personal computer – the only requirement is a computer connection to the internet, which if not available can be done on a kiosk terminal.
Billing and payments made easier, reducing processing cost
Billing and payment has never been that easy. Payment options available in patient portals are not only quicker, it also diminish third party processing charges.
More than that there is a long list of patient portal features.
Money saved is money earned. EHRs and patient portal technology are saving monies through less expensive modes of communication and scaling down overhead costs. It is a simple, one-place solution, which is infusing resilience and value to healthcare.