Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is a vital element in providing quality healthcare services. Technology has been essential in facilitating effective communication in the healthcare sector. Many healthcare facilities adopt the patient portal technology to foster patient engagement and improve their service delivery. This technology allows the patients to be in charge of their medical information, including making payments and requesting other vital information from their providers. For the providers, it has been an essential tool for effective record keeping of the medical history of their clients. Additionally, the technology has enabled healthcare providers to develop a friendly relationship with their clients by providing them with essential medical information and responding efficiently to the patients’ concerns. This paper analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of using the patient portal as an effective tool for enhancing healthcare communication.
Benefits of Patient Portal
Patient portals protect the patients’ healthcare data and reduce third parties’ unauthorized access to sensitive information. The portal enables patients to secure their information with security passwords and thus giving them full control of their healthcare records (Alpert et al., 2018). Securing patient data is essential in reducing theft and manipulation of sensitive information that can damage the reputation or self-esteem of the patients. Additionally, patient portal enables patients to access their healthcare information at any time without necessarily having to physically visit the healthcare provider. Easier access to vital information has reduced the congestion in healthcare facilities by enabling them to provide consultation services to their patients online at their convenient time. Furthermore, healthcare providers have been able to deliver medical test results quickly and respond to medical conditions in time to prevent the development of chronic illness by offering early treatment (Alpert et al., 2018). Early response to illness has significantly reduced hospitalizations which has lowered the cost of attending to chronic conditions. Therefore, the patient portal technology has significantly improved healthcare service delivery and made the healthcare services affordable.
Disadvantages of Patient Portal
Some of the portals are not user-friendly, thus making it difficult for patients to navigate the system. The difficulty in understanding the platform poses the threat of misleading the patient into making uninformed decisions or drawing wrong conclusions from the medical data available online (Kelly-Pumarol et al., 2018). Therefore, the online portal may not be sufficient in enabling the patients understand their medical information. Besides, the online portals are not providing satisfactory explanations to the patients regarding their medical conditions as they would be explained by physically visiting the healthcare provider (Kelly-Pumarol et al., 2018). Most patients have to consult other sites or other physicians to fully understand their medical data. Some of the data is best explained by the provider to prevent misinterpretation of the information which can be costly.
Furthermore, the use of patient portal presents security concerns for the patients and the providers especially in cases where the platform is not effectively secured. Due to technological advancement, online platforms are often vulnerable to security breaches when the hacker uses more advanced technology than the portal (Kelly-Pumarol et al., 2018). Such technologies have enabled hackers to bypass passwords and other security features to access and manipulate patients’ data. Some of the healthcare providers do not fully orient their clients to the portals thus king them vulnerable to security threats.
In conclusion, the patient portal technology is an effective communication tool that has significantly improved service delivery in healthcare. This technology has facilitated patient engagement in matters about their health, thus improving the relationship between the patients and the healthcare providers. For the healthcare facilities, the patient portal has enabled them to understand their client preferences and develop solutions to the problems limiting the service delivery. Therefore, despite the challenges that this technology presents, it has generally improved the healthcare sector.
Alpert, J. M., Morris, B. B., Thomson, M. D., Martin, K., & Brown, R. F. (2018). Implications of patient portal transparency in oncology: qualitative interview study on the experiences of patients, oncologists, and medical informaticists. JMIR Cancer, 4(1), e8993.
Kelly-Pumarol, I. J., Henderson, P. Q., Rushing, J. T., Andrews, J. E., Kost, R. G., & Wagenknecht, L. E. (2018). Delivery of the research participant perception survey through the patient portal. Journal of clinical and translational science, 2(3), 163-168.