Patient portals offer a host of web-based tools empowering patients to play an active role in their own health management.
ONC defines a patient portal as “a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an Internet connection.” Patient portals are also known as tethered personal health records (PHRs).
While all patient portals allow access to certain personal health data, provider notes, and medical histories, some portal vendors offer additional features that distinguish them from their competitors.
Research shows that when patients are able to see their own health data, they gain ownership of their own wellness and are better prepared to interact with their providers about their care. Patient-provider communication through secure messaging is an important component of the patient portal. Secure messaging capabilities offer just as many benefits to the provider as they do the patient, allowing the provider to build a relationship with their patients while streamlining their workload.
As a result of federal programs requiring providers to report patient engagement data, patient portals have become a common part of the patient experience. According to 2014 data published by ONC, nearly two-thirds of hospitals (64%) allow patients to view, download, and transmit health data and more than half (51%) support secure messaging.
Generally, these patient engagement tools are part of enterprise EHR and health IT platforms. The following is a list of the top patient portal vendors by implementation based on data Definitive Healthcare.
Accenture Federal Services
Accenture Federal Services specializes in providing IT solutions. Accenture’s healthcare division has grown exponentially in the past two years and recently signed a contract alongside Cerner and Leidos to lend its services to VA’s modernization efforts. Accenture’s Intelligent Patient Platform equips patients with personalized programs to improve health outcomes. Accenture’s patient portal also uses outcome-based analytics to measure the effectiveness of each patient’s program to signal providers if it’s necessary to adjust a patient’s care plan.
Allscripts FollowMyHealth is a patient engagement platform and support service allowing patients a way to easily message physicians, view their health information and lab results, and renew medications through the internet or user-friendly mobile apps. FollowMyHealth Achieve, an accompanying patient engagement solution, allows providers to monitor a patient’s compliance with care plans, track progress, and initiate interventions when necessary to improve health outcomes.
athenahealth provides a patient portal designed to promote patient engagement through easily- accessible patient health records, appointment scheduling, provider messaging, and more. athenahealth emphasizes the potential for patient portals to encourage patients to handle routine inquiries independently, freeing up providers to spend more time on quality patient care.
The Cerner patient portal promotes engagement by offering patients tools for secure messaging, lab results, eVisits, and appointment scheduling. Patients can fill prescriptions through secure messaging, update their demographic information, and request appointments with their providers. Cerner’s patient portal is part of the EHR vendor’s vision for optimized Virtual Health Care allowing patients and providers to connect outside the bounds of a primary care setting.
CPSI, a healthcare organization providing services for thousands of post-acute care facilities and rural hospitals, offers patient management and patient portals through its Evident EHR technology. While still a relatively young EHR, Evident is focused on providing quality care in rural communities and offering patients access to their records through an online portal from any location, no matter how remote.
Epic My Chart is a patient portal providing easy access to patient test results, physician visits, orders, and medications. Patients can use MyChart to schedule future appointments and submit medical questions. The privately-owned EHR company’s patient portal also comes with accompanying mobile apps allowing patients to view their information anytime and is working on enabling patient-provider video chats in the near future.
The InteliChart patient portal allows patients to schedule their own appointments and pay bills electronically. InteliChart prioritizes simplicity for providers and offers a single solution for all hospitals and practices.
MEDHOST offers an EHR-agnostic patient portal providing patients with secure access to personal health records anywhere at any time. MEDHOST’s web and mobile apps are meaningful use-certified and allow patients to view lab results, request appointments and medication refills, and upload any documents their providers need to deliver optimal patient care.
The MEDITECH patient and consumer health portal offers appointment scheduling, portable patient health record access, personalized health information and instructions, and easy online bill paying. Additionally, MEDITECH offers patients the ability to view personalized discharge and medication instructions online as well as a host of other education resources to ensure patients stay on track with care plans outside of patient visits.
RelayHealth, McKesson’s connectivity business, offers a way to securely connect patients to their information and healthcare providers. Among the features offered through RelayHealth’s patient portal services are provider consultations, prescription renewal, appointment scheduling, patient health record management, and referral requests.