Meaningful Use: Gearing up for Stage Two
A patient portal looks much like a Web site, but the similarities end there. A Web site offers a static user experience while a Web-based patient portal is a gateway into a medical practice for patients. A portal provides a secure, HIPAA-compliant, two-way communication channel between patients and their health care providers.
Unlike your practice’s office operations, the portal provides convenient, 24-hour, self-service options. It allows patients to handle business and clinical interactions with your practice at their convenience, and allows your staff to respond when it suits them.
While the features of portals may vary, the options typically allow patients to complete, manage or communicate with their provider regarding:
- Financial clearance
- Medical history
- Appointment scheduling requests and confirmations
- Appointment recalls for preventive and other recommended care
- Specialty referrals
- Test results notification and tracking
- Patient-health care provider communication
- Online bill payment
- Prescription renewal
Recognizing the intrinsic values of a well-designed, multi-functional patient portal, the federal government has honed in on portals in its Meaningful Use rules. Twenty of the 25 criteria are required by eligible professionals in order to demonstrate Meaningful Use of their EHR in Stage 1. Four of the 25 criteria, of which 20 are required by eligible professionals in order to demonstrate meaningful use of their EHR in Stage 1, focus on services that practices would be hard-pressed to provide without a patient portal.
Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC
Elizabeth Woodcock is a highly regarded industry speaker, author and trainer focusing on medical group operations and revenue cycle management for nearly 20 years. Ms. Woodcock has led educational sessions for many professional organizations including the MGMA and the AMA, and she has consulted a diverse group of physician practices. The author of several books, including “Mastering Patient Flow to Increase Efficiency and Earnings,” she is frequently published and quoted in national publications.
- 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)