Monday, February 13, 2017

The Benefits of EHR Patient Portals

EHRs or electronic health record systems are becoming more embedded in healthcare organizations. They are becoming more embedded, to a great extent because of heavy government encouragement and possible penalties. EHRs are useful for collecting healthcare related information, so that a provider can more readily have access to the information. This access can enable a provider to make better treatment decisions. An important element of many EHRs is the patient portal. A patient portal improves the interaction between the provider and the patient.

The patient portal gives the patient access to elements of his or her health record via the internet.  These elements include medications, lab results, and allergy information. And some portals allow patients to make appointments, and download forms to be filled out.

These forms can be important in the treatment of patients. And having the patient fill out forms before coming into the provider's office can be more efficient than having the patient fill out the forms while in the provider's office. And the information gleaned from the forms by the provider can improve patient treatment.

In one diabetes study it was found that "questionnaires are useful to assess lifestyle, habits, and highlight risk factors ..." Questionnaires can be especially helpful to obesity medicine providers, particularly questionnaires that ask about the medical history of an obese patient.
Items on the "obesity related" form should include questions about weight history, nutritional history, medical history, social history, and family history. Asking the appropriate questions can improve the patient's prognosis for weight loss and weight maintenance.

So EHRs can be beneficial in a healthcare organization. Patient portals, as a part of the EHR, can be important because they allow the patient to keep abreast of his or her health history. And the portals give providers a way to obtain health-related information that the provider can use to improve patient treatment.


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