Patient Portals Help Patients Manage Their Own Healthcare

Raritan Bay Medical Center’s new Patient Portal encourages better communication with your physician by providing a secure, convenient way to manage your personal healthcare. This free, self-service health management tool can improve interactions with your doctor’s office, document important healthcare information, and ultimately gives you the ability to make more informed decisions about your health.

A patient portal is a secure online website and email communication system that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information or electronic medical record from any location with an Internet connection. Accessing the portal through a username and password, patients can view information such as laboratory and radiology results, and chart these results over time.

As new provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, new tools to improve efficiencies and communication will become increasingly important. The portal experience opens up secure communication between patients, physicians and other healthcare providers.

The Internet-based portal serves as a patient’s virtual, secure gateway to their clinical information. Combined with electronic medical records, patient portals help physicians and hospitals comply with the Accountability Act, minimize medical record errors, and improve care by engaging patients in managing their own health.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that patients with access to a portal read their doctor’s notes and felt more in control of the healthcare. 60 to 70 percent of those taking medications reported increased adherence to their medication schedule.

Improved communication between physicians and patients opens up new collaborative paths to improving health outcomes. Health technology can lower the barriers that hold patients back from taking healthy actions. Health professionals can provide important support to their patients by educating and encouraging them in the use of appropriate technology for health improvement. Portals give patients, their caregivers, and the entire healthcare team an opportunity to share information, gain experience, and learn from one another.  This consistent and timely dialogue will help improve health outcomes, from managing chronic conditions by tracking results to catching a problem during a routine physical examination.

If you had a hospital stay or outpatient testing at our medical center I encourage you to register for your patient portal today at myrbmc.rbmc.org. Better healthcare outcomes are now just a click away.

By Jo Ann Ferrara, MBA, RHIT, CHP
Jo Ann is the director of Health Information Management at Raritan Bay Medical Center.

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