Healthcare organizations adopt patient portals to provide patients with seamless access to medical information. Portals offer several benefits for both patients and healthcare providers. First of all, portals promote patient education and knowledge crucial for the effective management of chronic conditions. Since many patients consider technology and online content as reliable sources of information, portals encourage their awareness of prescribed medication and treatment. For instance, as a patient portal user, I can access my medical history and view the summary of each diagnosis. Second of all, patient portals enhance patient engagement as they can access and manage their personal medical information anytime and anywhere via the Internet. For example, I use myPennMedicine patient portal to consult my primary provider and endocrinologist or to request medication refills. Finally, portals provide convenience for patients and care providers. The process of remote medication refills is time-saving and convenient since my request goes directly to the pharmacist, and I receive a text message once my order is ready. All in all, patient portals’ benefits are vital for clinical practice as they facilitate the management of chronic diseases, support patient education, and reduce costs.
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Patient portals contribute to patient-centered care as they allow patients to easily access medical data and communicate with their healthcare provider or caregivers. Patients can request a prescription refill online or contact their provider via e-mail for a consultation (Murray, 2017). Additionally, patient portals contain valuable information about immunizations, lab results, prescribed medications, and anamnesis of a patient (Murray, 2017). Moreover, portals are gradually changing the nature of patient-provider relations by establishing effective remote communication. According to Houston et al. (2019), portals allow the patients to be partners with the provider rather than passive participants. As patients become aware of their condition and medication, they are able to take more responsibility for their wellbeing, while healthcare professionals, such as nurse informaticists, support and encourage their interaction with technology (Houston, 2019). Patient portals can also be utilized by healthcare organizations to monitor a patient’s condition and health with the help of medical apps, providing a variety of treatment options. Thus, patient portals ensure productive and convenient remote interaction between patients and providers while contributing to quality patient-centered care.
Electronic patient-generated health data can contribute to the continuity, quality, and safety of healthcare. The continuity of care is achieved through the ongoing cooperation between the patient and the provider. Patient-generated data contributes to decreased office visits and the stability of the medication regimen. Moreover, the users of patient portals demonstrate proper adherence to treatment plans being active participants in their care (Griffin et al., 2016). The quality of care is significantly improved as patient portal users with diabetes demonstrate better glycemic control, while patients with hypertension show lowered cholesterol levels and adequate blood pressure measurements (Griffin et al., 2016). Patient-generated health data contributes to the safety of health services through timely and well-coordinated care available to patients regardless of their physical location. The data generated by patient portals contributes to healthcare safety by reducing preventable admissions and readmissions to hospitals. The research conducted by Griffin et al. (2016) reveals a positive impact of patient-generated data by detecting a 66% difference in 30-day readmission between portal users and non-users (p. 489). Overall, patient-generated health data improves clinical outcomes through the enhanced mechanisms of continuity, quality, and safety of care.
Griffin, A., Skinner, A., Thornhill, J., & Weinberger, M. (2016). Patient portals. Who uses them? What features do they use? And do they reduce hospital readmissions? Applied Clinical Informatics, 7(2), 489–501. Web.
Houston, S. M., Dieckhaus, T., Kirchner, B., & Lardner, M. C. (Eds.). (2019). An introduction to nursing informatics: Evolution and innovation (2nd ed.). CRC Press.
Murray, E. (2017). Nursing leadership and management for patient safety and quality care. F. A. Davis Company.