How You Benefit from Your Patient Portal

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Over the years, technology has entered every aspect of our lives, from digital photos to online banking. In an increasingly high-tech world, electronic medical records build on the power of digital record-keeping to simplify access to health information. In most doctor’s offices and hospitals, this access is provided through a patient portal.

What Is a Patient Portal?

A patient portal is a secure online website that gives you convenient 24-hour access to your personal medical information—called an Electronic Medical Record or EMR—from anywhere with an internet connection.

Why Use a Patient Portal?

Accessing your personal medical records through a patient portal can help you be more actively involved in your own health care. Accessing your family members’ health information can help you take care of them more easily. Also, patient portals offer self-service options that can eliminate phone tag with your doctor and sometimes even save a trip to the doctor’s office.

What Can You Do with a Portal?

The features of patient portals may vary, but typically you can securely view and print portions of your medical record, including recent doctor visits, medications, immunizations and lab results. A portal may give you the ability to:

  • Request prescription refills

  • Read visit summaries

  • Review test results

  • Update your contact information

  • Make payments

  • Download or complete intake forms

  • View educational materials

How Do Electronic Medical Records Help Me?

There are many advantages to using an electronic record over paper documents. All the information about your care is in one secure location, and you can choose to share it with trusted family members without the need for photocopying, mailing or delivering documents.

It’s easy to refer back to information and learn about your condition, treatment and prescriptions. A portal can help you track appointments, fill out forms and take an active role in managing your overall well-being. Getting administrative details out of the way online lets you focus on more important issues when you see your doctor. Finally, your patient portal can save you time and energy, which is especially valuable when you’re dealing with a serious illness.

How Do Electronic Medical Records Help My Doctor’s Office?

Many of the benefits to your healthcare team are the same as the benefits to you. Portals can improve communication between you and your provider and make sure you’re working from the same set of facts. In addition, it can be easier for your team to find and share information, coordinate your care and improve the accuracy of record-keeping.

How Do I Begin?

It is your right under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to see and get copies of your health information, or share it with a third party, such as a family member or other doctors. Access to a portal makes this easier. Ask your provider about your options and how to get started.

Megan AndersonComment