As health care personnel become more familiar with the technology and patients get accustomed to communicating with physicians online, the use of patient portals is due to increase in the future, reports U.S. News & World Report. The Affordable Care Act mandates increased electronic health care record keeping and communication.
Patient portals allow patients full-time access to health information, such as summaries of doctor's visits, lab results, immunizations and medications, according to HealthIT.gov. Via patient portals, many patients are also able to communicate by email with health care personnel, schedule appointments, request prescription medication refills, make payments and access health education information. Case studies emphasize that patients appreciate the ability to communicate easily and directly with health care providers. Physicians and other health care personnel appreciate the savings in time of answering emails rather than phone calls, the precision of electronically recorded communication, and the ability to share clinical summaries, health care data and educational resources with their patients.
The main difficulty with patient portals lies in convincing patients to sign up and participate, reports U.S. News & World Report. In some demographics, patients do not understand the technology or do not have email addresses. Some areas are language-diverse, although most patient portals are only in English, as of 2015. Health care personnel often must be proactive in signing up patients to participate in patient portals.