Are Patient Portals Really Relevant?

Patients say the answer is no.

If this shocks you, the rest of the stats will really throw you for a loop. According to Mobi Health News,

  • 49 percent of patients know their doctor’s office offers a patient portal (but don’t necessarily use it)
  • 40 percent were not aware of a patient portal offering
  • The remaining 11 percent of patients know their doctor doesn’t offer one

When a patient portal does it right, it offers helpful articles in addition to account status, a way to get in touch with the doc, or even join an online forum to discuss what other patients within the portal might be going through. But even if all these stars are aligned, even if the portal exists, and the patient knows about it, who’s to say they’ll actually use it?

“Even if patients know about the patient portal, physicians are still not following up with them through it, the survey explains. About 48 percent of physicians are not following up with patients at all, 23.5 percent call patients to follow up, and 12.8 percent send a letter. Just 9.1 percent use the patient portal and another 6 percent contact patients via email.”

And let’s not forget about that whopping 40 percent of people who have no idea if their doctor’s office even offers one. We won’t get started on the massive doctor-patient communication breakdown. Okay, maybe just for one minute… Traditional docs are forced to stay behind the red tape and see 18-20 patients per day – with everything that’s already crammed into that typical 7 minute appointment, we understand how the mention of a patient portal could slip through the cracks.

What’s the Real Issue, Here?

The bottom line is that docs just don’t have enough time. Time to spend with their patients during the day, time to assess potentially life saving fitness app data, time to see the bigger picture. If they did, maybe they’d realize that patients don’t really care about a patient portal. Patients care about getting timely responses to their questions. They care that their physician isn’t already thinking about the next appointment halfway through their own. They care that their doctor knows their medical history inside and out and can help be proactive with treatment plans.

Enter DPC

The Direct Primary Care model of healthcare essentially alleviates the pain of all those issues we listed above. Direct Care docs have at least 30 minutes per appointment to spend with patients, talking about present issues, addressing the patient’s list of questions, and walking through next steps, which could even include dispensing medications right there on the spot. And if you’re Atlas.md, you cut through the red tape left and right, giving yourself the freedom to create custom applications (ahem, Atlas.md EMR) that tailor to your clinic’s model and more importantly, help you tailor your treatment plan to your patients.

Whew. If you ask us, that’s a much better use of time than worrying about a patient portal that doesn’t even matter.

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