Your Doctor’s Office, Gone Digital?
Have you ever tried to book an appointment with your doctor and gotten an answering machine 15 times before you were able to schedule an appointment? Had to take time out of your work day to call for a lab result or ask a question?
More and more people are gaining access to health insurance, so naturally more and more people are going to the doctors. With the digital age progressing at alarming rates—new apps may actually be able to run diagnostic labs on you from your Smartphone—why hasn’t your provider’s methods adapted?
Some actually have—you may just not know it yet. Many physician offices and hospitals now offer what’s called a Patient Portal. Patient Portals are secure, online websites that allow you to do a number of things to manage your health right from your computer, tablet or Smartphone. After you register an account (usually done by contacting your provider office first, and following their directions), these portals will allow you to request appointments, pay bills, request test results, securely message your provider and more. As long as you have access to the internet, the idea is that you should have access to your health.
Parents and legal caregivers are often given access to the accounts of their child or dependent—helping them manage their responsibilities electronically and at their leisure.
But why don’t more people use the portal? In truth—many practices have not adopted an online portal yet. The new trend of patient-centered transparent health has not yet caught on at many hospitals, practices or medical offices. Another reason may be because the portal services are not properly marketed by the healthcare office. They may have a portal, but haven’t really adopted this method of contact and therefore don’t push it to patients.
Either way, this is a fantastic tool for patients to monitor their health and stay informed and in control of their lives. Instead of calling and waiting on hold for 45 minutes to speak to your provider, or schedule an appointment—you can message your provider directly or send an online appointment request. Keeping you in charge of your time—and probably a whole lot less frustrated.
As great as these new portal tools are—they’re not perfect. Many systems don’t allow you to schedule your own appointment—only request a time. This means when your request is processed, there may not be an opening and you will have to risk being scheduled for another less convenient time. Also, since the messages are sent electronically to your providers, you’ll never know when to expect a response. Many doctors—particularly ones who dislike technology—may not like this type of communication and take their sweet time to respond.
Portal’s have not been perfected yet—but they are most definitely a step in the right direction. Since many patients prefer electronic communication today, this helps them keep their health in their routine.
Are you an Angels patient? We have our own Patient Portal. To register an account, or find out more log onto www.angelsneuro.com or call our offices—(781) 871-3773.