The change from paper to electronic records will also affect the way providers and patients communicate. It is often difficult for patients and providers to speak over the telephone because one party is unavailable, and sensitive information cannot be left through voice mail. Providers can provide patients with portals to their electronic health record so that they can request refills and communicate
via e-mail with their providers. Both providers and patients have reported a high degree of satisfaction with the messaging capabilities. Clinical results and educational materials can be readily accessed through patient portals. Patient portals must meet strict privacy and security standards so that patient confidentiality is maintained.
To activate patient portals, patients will be asked to provide an e-mail address. A message is generally sent to this address when a message is sent by the provider. A patient will then access the portal using a unique username and password. Medications, allergies, problems and laboratory results can be viewed after log-in. The long term goal of medical management is improving the quality of patient engagement and education. Patients will have the opportunity to actively participate in their care by having this resource at their fingertips.
CHITREC works with doctors to include patient engagement and other communication tools into workflow. We help providers consider security policies and patient rights. While patient portals are not a requirement of meeting Meaningful Use, portals often can help satisfy many requirements of the program, such as promptly providing patients with care summaries. Finally, we work with doctors to help identify barriers to patient use of records, such as cultural differences, so they can education patients about how to communicate with their doctor outside of the clinic visit.
Stage 2 of Meaningful Use will require many more demands on provider that emphasize patient engagement practices. Technology is also coming rapidly, such as communicating with patients through mobile devices. CHITREC is dedicate to keeping abreast with the latest trends in patients engagement technology to provide practices with education and training that can advance your practice while keeping your patients’ health information safe.