How can health information technology streamline practice and/or improve communication between providers & patients?

  1. How have you leveraged information technology to facilitate communication between patients and the health care team to promote health/monitor illness?
  2. What has been your experience with patient portals or email to communicate with patients?
  3. If you do not use such technology is it because of concerns about liability/accuracy of info, reimbursement for time spent for these interactions, or other reasons?
Healthcare Information Technology
Practice Management
Kathleen Mazza, RN, MBA
48 months ago

5 answers

  1. Technology can facilitate communication between patients and providers by providing summaries of the care plan, providing general health and wellness information and providing access for the patient to records such as when they are due for checkups, vaccinations, etc. This can also reduce calls to the office for routine items (when was my last tetanus shot? for example).
  2. My experience has been as a patient and is quite variable depending on the provider (yes, you do actually have to answer those emails, especially if you directed the patient to the portal to begin with), and the technology employed (if it takes a manual to explain how the patient can utilize the portal, then it won't be utilized effectively). One provider that my daughter was seeing would text and email 4 times in the span of 1 minutes, directing us to the portal to schedule our next appointment. At the portal, the screen instructed me that they did not do any scheduling via the portal, but that I should call the office to schedule. That could have been said in just 1 text and saved me 3 alerts and 10 minutes.
  3. Just an opinion, as I have not been in a position to implement this for a provider...many people decide to implement a portal without a clear plan as to what they want to accomplish with it, how they would like patients and staff to interact with it. Therefore, they do not use it effectively or incorporate it into their practice. Rather, staff often becomes reactive to it, adding another burden to the communication web. An understanding of what it can do and what you want to implement with it, as well as a plan to incorporate this as part of practice operations is imperative to effective utilization and success - for both the practice and the patients.
Carolyn C. Tinsley, MHA CLSS GB
48 months ago
2 = un-needed - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
  1. We have leveraged both our EHR patient portal, various analytics packages, and functions both inside and outside of our EHR to facilitate identifying gaps in care that need to be addressed, results to be communicated, and actions that patients can initiate to make compliance with their treatment plans as easy as possible. Gaps in care opportunities are proactively surfaced to the patients after having been identified both via our patient portal and via direct outreach (phone, mail, etc.). Virtual visits are enabled by both third party solutions as well as our patient portal. Questions for the office and medication refills are enabled by both our patient portal and our technology based CRM platform, and results and care plan availability is entirely within our patient portal. Part of these efforts are due to the significant percentage of lives we have under population health or shared savings arrangements.
  2. We have found that no single solution can address the needs of our patient population. We have invested in multiple channels of patient engagement including the patient portal, email, snail mail, and even phone calls from case management for our most at risk populations. We do believe that as generational shifts occur the adoption of tech enabled channels will rise and it is already a significant portion of these interactions.
  3. We are embracing technology to the greatest degree possible going forward. There are/were legal and compliance worries and challenges to overcome at each step of this journey but we believe that both our own operational efficiency as well as our customers demand that these mechanisms are available and that our offerings in these areas increase over time. Clearly as Carolyn notes above operational processes and people adjustments are key to implementing any of these things effectively and buy in from clinicians and business units are required as well as appropriate technology to have a working solution for your customers as well as your enterprise.

Christopher Carrington
48 months ago
The cost of time wasted by physicians in the US because of EMR is greater than $365 billion a year, according to HBR. Time to do something about this. - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
  1. An easy access portal where patients could find all the information, always updated. This could be used to facilitate communication between doctors, the admin team and patients. The main point is to have a really user friendly portal, in this way everyone could get the benefit of the portal even if not having IT skills (or someone in the family support when joining the portal).
  2. Unfortunately I had some bad experiences with complicated portals, frequent not announced updates that blocked access to some modules and information.
  3. I would always use technology, just as mentioned in the previous comments you need to set up a clear and detailed plan.
Paolo Beffagnotti
48 months ago
How about liability for the doctor? - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
No kidding - nice cartoon - many thanks - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
mHealth Study Will Test An App’s Ability to Help Smokers Quit - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
how will this work? - Paolo 36 months ago
LIABILITY = This is still unclear = So, why would I do it; as a doctor? - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
LIABILITY = This is still unclear = So, why would I do it; as a patient? - Dr. David E. 36 months ago
LIABILITY = This is still unclear = So, why would I do it; as an insurance company ? - Dr. David E. 36 months ago

How can health information technology streamline practice and/or improve communication between providers & patients?

Is can't - and never will -  with TPAs.


Dr. David E. M
36 months ago

My office uses the patient portal to aid in sharing information with patients including lab results, medical records, medication requests, and prompts for annual screenings. While it is helpful, the technology has a ways to go to bridge the gap of communication between office visits.

Jennifer Pantaleo
36 months ago
Yes = pretty typical experiene; many thanks - Dr. David E. 36 months ago

Have some input?