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What Is a Patient Portal?

The time between your healthcare provider's appointments can sometimes be long. Especially when you’re waiting for answers to questions, or for information about your health. Wouldn't it be convenient to access your health history and health information anytime, anywhere? That’s the idea behind the patient portal.

A patient portal is a web-based tool. It allows you to have access to your health information 24 hours a day. A patient portal can provide different features. This varies based on the system that your provider uses. Typically, you can log on to your patient portal using a secure website with a username and password.

Over the past several years, many providers and healthcare systems have started using patient portals. They are popular and becoming more widely used. They offer many benefits for both patients and healthcare providers.

Improved communication

Patient portals can help you build a relationship with your healthcare provider. Some systems allow you to use the portal to send emails or messages back and forth with your providers. This can replace lost messages, long wait times, miscommunication, and even phone-tag. Instead of calling your provider's office to ask for a prescription refill or to schedule an appointment, you can do it online at your convenience.

Access to health records

An online patient portal provides round-the-clock, easy, private, and safe access to your electronic health records. Depending on how the system is set up, you might be able to:

  • View your lab and other test results

  • Complete necessary paperwork before your office visit

  • Pay an outstanding balance

  • Manage and view a complete list of your medicines

  • Track your immunizations

  • View a list of all of your allergies

  • See a snapshot of your overall health and procedures you have had

Managing your health

A patient portal can help you learn about your health. Your patient portal will often link to your personal health record. This is an online record of your health information that you put together yourself. You can include and track any of your personal statistics like your blood pressure and weight. Some portals also give access to health information.

The portal is often used in combination with your electronic health record (EHR). This has all of your personal health history, from past diagnoses to medicines and test results. Your healthcare provider usually creates and maintains your EHR.

Benefits of a patient portal

Patient portals are useful for both healthcare providers and patients. Healthcare providers’ offices can run more efficiently. Also, healthcare providers can stay in better contact with patients. At the same time, patients can take a more active role in managing their own health. This may mean better control over chronic diseases and overall improved health.

Instead of phoning and waiting on hold with your healthcare provider's office, you may be able to sit down at your computer and log in to your healthcare provider's patient portal. This is another example of how technology can make it easier for you to connect with your healthcare provider and get the care you need.

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2024
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