INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Over the past year, computers, tablets and smartphones have become our primary means of information, education and connection. And many people who weren’t comfortable with technology have gotten more experience with it. Will it also provide a boost to healthcare information technology?
By computer … email … Or text, the way we connect with our doctors and keep tabs on our personal health information is changing. Although this technology is widely available, new research conducted just before the pandemic, indicates less than half of all patients are tapped in. Indiana University health information researchers found 24 percent of patients would email their healthcare providers. Eighteen percent felt comfortable texting, and 31 percent reported using an electronic health messaging system platform.
“Some people don’t know about it. Some people know that it exists but are not comfortable yet using it. So, there is definitely room for improvement,” explained Joy L. Lee, PhD, research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University.
Using healthcare platforms can reduce office visits and make it easier for patients to review test results. These portals require patients to set up an account and a password, but researchers say there’s a benefit to having a physician’s instructions at your fingertips.
“Some early studies suggest that it can have an impact on patient outcomes. In particular, patients with chronic disease or diabetes have seen improved outcomes,” illustrated David Haggstrom, MD, research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University.
The researchers say patients need to confirm their communication preferences with their providers. Some doctors are quick to respond to text or email, while others may unintentionally leave you unread.
If you are worried about your health information staying private—and ten percent of the patients surveyed are— the experts say your best bet is to use your healthcare provider’s online patient portal. While the researchers studied a large sample of Indiana patients, they say the results mirror national attitudes toward technology and healthcare.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: THE DOC IS … AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!
REPORT: MB #4874
BACKGROUND: Electronic patient portals are online platforms that give patients direct access to their health records. Allowing patients to access their medical records by using smart devices creates opportunities for improved engagement in their healthcare. Frequent use of these portals could result in improved access, self-management, care coordination, and reduced costs. These potential benefits are especially beneficial for meeting the complex needs of patients with multiple chronic conditions who may not be able to visit their doctor in person as often. Participants have reported variance in the amount of time and how often they use their electronic patient portal. Six out of nine patients reported logging into the portal about once per month while the other three reported never logging on since registering the account. Patients who view themselves as healthy logged on less compared to times when they were not feeling well.
DIAGNOSING: Six in every 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease, such as diabetes or arthritis making chronic diseases the leading driver of the nation’s $3.3 trillion annual healthcare spending. Patient portals alone can help improve preventive and chronic disease management by nearly 10% for some conditions. Other studies confirm that these types of healthcare information tools generate patient loyalty and can increase patient satisfaction and engagement.
Ninety percent of healthcare organizations are already using some form of patient portal access.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Common features that health care portals offer patients include but are not limited to using portal on a computer or tablet, direct messaging between patient and care providers, and viewing, downloading, or transmitting their medical data to an external third-party. The use of health care portals shows the benefits of using industry-leading low-code platform and provide the means to build not just online patient portals, but other fully featured healthcare applications, including but not limited to patient condition reporting, disease management application, and patient feedback and collaboration apps.
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JENNIFER FARRELL WALKER
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