FierceMobileHealthcare recently published an article about how patient engagement and mHealth will be key to meeting the proposed Stage 3 of meaningful use measures. The ability to submit patient-generated information leans toward apps and portals that patients can interact with from home.
Patient engagement is already an important focus of Stage 2, which requires providers to get 10% of their patients to engage with patient portals.
A blog on KevinMD.com points out some of the weaknesses of current patient portals that still need improvement:
- multiple portals might not communicate with each other
- privacy concerns
- inadequate resources and variable skills of implementers and champions
- limited access to records and lack of portability
InformationWeek published a slideshow of 7 patient portal providers with feedback from a recent KLAS report. “What’s interesting, though, is that few respondents cited functionality in their portal selection criteria. Despite the onslaught on Meaningful Use Stage 2, this trend suggests that either today’s portals have strong functionality or expectations are low, said KLAS.”
I am inclined to think the reasoning is low expectations rather than strong functionality, as most patient portals are only being used in a limited capacity to deliver lab results, provide secure messaging, and/or for billing. Patient engagement can (and should) go way beyond these simple features by additionally providing education, monitoring and support.
This class of portals reviewed by KLAS are largely extensions of the databases that underlie the EHRs providing patients access to limited sets of information contained therein. We are now building a second generation of engagement tools that apply smarts to the data to help patients make sense of their medical situations and navigate their treatment journeys.
An online Patient Guidance System (PGS) is a low-cost portal solution that can improve the patient experience and provider efficiencies across the entire episode of care. Read our whitepaper to learn more.