A patient portal is a Web-based access point that allows doctors and patients to communicate and share health information remotely, supplementing the ongoing management of the patient’s care. While portals can’t replace an in-office visit, they have many benefits: They are “designed to boost patient’s involvement in their care,” as portals encourage viewing test results and health documentation and can facilitate an ongoing doctor-patient dialogue. Additionally, portals can reduce costly paperwork by serving as online billing and payment centers. As part of the meaningful use Stage 2 requirements, providers must have “at least five percent of their patients using an online patient portal” to get incentive payments.
Do Patient Portals Improve Healthcare?