Healthcare Patient Portals: What’s Your Preference?

Medical record display on tablet for e-health technology.You know you’re in trouble when individuals don’t even know they have healthcare patient portals for their use.

A recent report by Software Advice discovered a mixed bag in survey responses.

  • One-third of respondents indicated they had access to a patient portal
  • Two-thirds either did not have access or did not know if they had access

Electronic healthcare communication may be on the rise; however, like any communication tool, the trick is engaging the user.

Healthcare Patient Portals

Healthcare patient portals are part of the push for electronic health records (EHRs).

The idea is EHRs will improve care and the patient portals will help engage patients in their care − the ultimate healthcare consumer challenge.

In the U.S., the National Quality Forum developed a set of criteria for meaningful use of EHRs.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid established an EHR Incentive Program with financial incentives for the meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

EHR Incentive Program: Stage 1

Stage 1 defined meaningful use of EHRs. Part of that definition is engaging patients and family. A healthcare patient portal helps providers meet Stage 1.

EHR Incentive Program: Stage 2

Stage 2 set the requirements for incentive reimbursement. A requirement for Stage 2 is:

  • At least 5 percent of patients are using patient portals
  • Patient portal use includes viewing, downloading and transmittal of health information, as well as sending secure electronic messages

Healthcare Patient Portal Scorecard

Software Advice’s survey shed a little light on patient preferences and how providers are doing so far. At least for the 1,540 respondents.

The following illustrates some of the survey findings.

Patient Preferences for Portal Features

Patient Preferences


 Most Frustrating Features

Patient Frustrations


The survey also reported gender differences in patient preferences.

For example, male respondents were most interested in scheduling and prescription activity. Female respondents put lab results and online bill view and payments at the top of their most preferred features.

You can view additional findings of the report at Software Advice, an electronic health records research organization.


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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

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