Patient Portals 101

Want faster access to your health care provider? Patient portals enhance and quicken communication between you and your medical care team. Portals also allow secure electronic access to your personal health information. If your provider offers a patient portal, make the most of this valuable health tool. Portals are especially useful when you develop a chronic condition that needs regular care.

Getting started: Initially, your clinic will likely send an email giving you an option to log in to and set up your patient portal. The portal’s message center allows you to communicate electronically with your provider and the office staff, who can then send you various notices, such as test results and reminders for annual checkups and flu shots. Note: If you’ve not received notification to access a portal service, contact your clinic.

Once you’re set up, you can receive email alerts to visit your portal for new messages. In addition, the portal allows you to perform many basic health care tasks. You can:

  • Make non-urgent appointments.
  • Review your medical history.
  • Request referrals.
  • Refill prescriptions.
  • Download and complete forms.  
  • Access educational materials.
  • Send questions via secure email.

Some portals work better than others. Report problems or suggestions to your website providers; they want to ensure their portals are effective and efficient for their patients. 

Portals can often save you time and effort. You can often resolve basic issues without waiting for office hours or returned phone calls; you can access your personal health information from each of your providers; and if you have multiple providers or see specialists regularly, they can securely post online notices to your portal.

Using a portal service can lead to better care and easier care management. Are you on it?

Posted in eMazine