Healthcare News & Insights

57% of providers now offer online patient portals

To boost patient satisfaction and qualify for federal incentive funds, most providers are now offering patients access to online portals to view electronic records and perform other tasks. 

We’ve written before about how patients are demanding access to self-service online portals to view their own medical records, request appoints and complete other tasks. For example, among 1,100 patients polled in a summer survey:

  • 88% said they want to receive email reminders when it’s time to schedule an appointment
  • 83% want to access their personal medical information online
  • 73% want the ability to request prescription refills using a smartphone, and
  • 72% want to book, change or cancel appointments through the web.

Despite that demand, a February survey conducted by Deloitte found that few doctors were offering those capabilities. Among the 300 doctors surveyed:

  1. Less than 25% use secure messaging to communicate with patients
  2. Just 20% allow patients to schedule appointments or view test results online, and
  3. Only 18% let patients request prescription refills online.

Majority of docs now offer patient portals

However, it appears healthcare organizations are starting to listen to patients’ requests for more online tools, as more than half of providers now use online patient portals, according to a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS.

According to the report, “Patient Portals: the Path of Least Resistance,” 57% of providers give patients access to those online tools. The majority are turning to their EHR system vendor for online portal software.

In addition to patient demand, the authors note organizations are also getting ready to meet the upcoming Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements necessary to participate in the federal government’s EHR incentive program.

The final rule for the next phase of meaningful use requires providers to offer online access to health information and a portal for secure messaging to at least 5% of their patients.

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