Nearly half of patients unaware of online EHR portals

Doctors need to show their patients their online portals to raise awareness.

Doctors need to show their patients their online portals to raise awareness.

As part of electronic health records adoption and achieving Meaningful Use Stage 2, many medical centers have deployed online patient portals. These provide access to patient-doctor communications, appointment scheduling and other useful tools. However, nearly half of patients are unaware they exist.

According to a recent study performed by TechnologyAdvice, 40 percent of patients don't know if their primary care physician has an online portal, while only 49 percent said they were shown the portal by their doctor. The phone still came out on top of the list of preferred methods to contact a doctor or schedule an appointment, and 42.7 percent said they'd rather receive test results this way than by email. However, health care offices need to have at least five percent of their patients use an online portal in order to quality for Meaningful Use Stage 2 incentives.

Another issue was that only 6.3 percent of doctors use email for follow-ups after appointments, and 9.1 percent use other online resources, while 47.9 percent aren't performing follow-up communications at all.

The study did outline a demographic breakdown, with more than 60 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 saying they prefer using an online calendar for appointment scheduling, compared to less than 20 percent preferring phone. This rate shows a rapid fallout, with phone and online portal equal in preference among the 25 to 34 age range, then beginning to slide in favor of phone scheduling as patients grew older.

While there continue to be struggles achieving Stage 2 adoption, many firms are investing in enhanced solutions, especially in the chiropractic field. The best chiropractic EHR software can help offices achieve Meaningful Use and ease the transition to digital record keeping for the office and its patients.

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