December 2015 Edition Vol.11, Issue 12

Extending and Enhancing Patient Care Beyond the Office with Patient Portals

Extending and Enhancing Patient Care Beyond the Office with Patient Portals (continued)

This is good news for oncology practices that are continually striving to extend and enhance care beyond the walls of their offices. Patients diagnosed with chronic diseases, such as cancer, require a high level of care that includes many facets. From frequent appointments and lab tests to multiple medications that require a thorough understanding of possible side effects and their management, tracking the vast amounts of information for cancer care can be complex and overwhelming.

More practices today employ support nurses who reach out to patients between appointments to check on their status, remind them to take their medications, and proactively support patients in an effort to improve outcomes and reduce the risk for negative events such as unplanned hospitalizations, ultimately reducing the overall cost of care. Patient portals are another effective tool for educating and engaging patients, as well as strengthening their relationships with patients. These online applications enable providers to share, track, and store patient information and give patients another way to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers. 

It’s no secret that patients who are engaged in their healthcare have better outcomes and incur lower costs. Patients who are engaged ask good questions, understand their disease, and are more likely to follow treatment recommendations and guidelines given to them by their physicians, nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers.

Oncology-specific portals provide another way to engage patients by providing convenient 24-hour access to personal health information for the patient. Typically, portals enable patients to view details about their specific type of cancer and stage of the disease, allergy information, and a list of medications prescribed by the oncologist as well as other medications a patient is taking.

For many cancer patients, one of the most important aspects of their care is tracking lab results such as CBCs, chemistries, and tumor markers. Patients who use oncology specific portals can quickly log-in to the portal to see the results without having to wait for a phone call or letter from the practice or lab.  My Care Plus even sends patients an email notifying them that lab results have been posted and allows them to read any comments their physician has entered about the results. This streamlined delivery of results enables patients to quickly and easily see what implications the lab results may have on their treatment.

In addition to tracking lab results, many portals also link patients to reputable educational cancer resources such as informative guides and supportive care articles. More sophisticated portals even leverage a patient’s clinical information to target specific information that is relevant to them. For example, My Care Plus provides patients with information about their specific condition and care that includes nutritional recommendations as well as potential side effects and how best to manage them. Distilling information according to the patient’s data eliminates patients being presented with a lot of information that does not apply to them.

Pages: 1 2 3

Post a Comment

OBR Archives

To view previous issues of OBR green you can visit our archives. The entire library of OBR green articles is searchable.