Patient portals are multipurpose tools that facilitate the active participation of patients in critical decisions involved in their personal healthcare. Through a personal health website, patients enjoy better patient-physician relationships since they have direct access to their physicians on a 24-hour basis through direct and secure messaging. Such relationships can greatly improve the quality and convenience of healthcare services including booking of appointments and review of patient cases. It can reduce incidences of missed appointments as a result of patients forgetting their hospital appointments. Moreover, patients can also enjoy the convenience of paying for their medical bills and make prescription refill requests online (Powell & Myers, 2018; Kruse, Bolton & Freriks, 2015). Improved participation and engagement of patients in decision-making and streamlined operations translate to improved healthcare outcomes for the patient.
Health information management (HIM) professionals play a vital role in the provision of quality healthcare services through performance data gathering, analysis, and reporting. They also use such data to develop quality standards for measuring patient safety and quality of care. Patient portals are a ready health data mine that HIM professionals can effectively use to develop effective quality control measures. They can easily and conveniently access patient data and effectively analyze and report them. This also helps them in streamlining and effective management of workflow within hospital settings. Patient portals allow HIM professionals to optimize workflow within the medical facilities by synchronizing patient information and data with the work schedules of medical staff. Moreover, patient portals facilitate the development of patient-focused patient safety and quality standards by the HIM professionals. Consequently, the professionals can help in improving patient outcomes by customizing services and standards to meet the demands of patients (Powell & Myers, 2018; Kruse, Bolton & Freriks, 2015). This is because these portals allow for greater collaboration within the healthcare system.
Kruse, C. S., Bolton, K. & Freriks, G. (2015). The Effect of Patient Portals on Quality Outcomes and Its Implications to Meaningful Use: A Systematic Review. J Med Internet Res., 17(2): e44.
Powell, K. & Myers, C. (2018). Electronic patient portals: Patient and provider perceptions. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 22(1).