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)

Figure 2: My Care Plus Patient Portal



We’ve heard many stories from patients who use portals, and one of the most often cited benefits is the ability to communicate with the staff at the practice at any time. For some patients, it’s not always easy to ask the doctor or nurse questions regarding their care, or they forget what they want to ask when they get to their appointments. The patient portal gives patients a means to ask questions about their specific case, describe symptoms they are having, or ask about information they’ve seen or heard in the media without inhibition and when it’s convenient and top of mind. 

Not only have we seen how effective these portals are at enhancing patient care, but we’ve seen many examples of how they also improve efficiency at the practices that use them. Practice staff can easily send reminders about upcoming appointments, notify patients of important events, such as screenings, and promote wellness programs. Plus, the electronic notification of lab results and secure messaging between the care team and patients save valuable nursing time that can be spent face-to-face with the patients when they are in the office.

The increased communication between practices and patients strengthens the relationships and makes sure everyone is on the same page about treatment details.  Minnesota Oncology, a practice that uses My Care Plus, regularly utilizes the portal to quickly recap phone conversations between the patient support nurse and patient in a written form. This has been particularly beneficial for patients’ proxies who can view their family members’ portal to review exactly what was discussed with the team. It helps ensure patients and their proxies understand the recommendations and saves time by eliminating the need for them to call the practice to get the information.

In just the last five years, we’ve seen tremendous progress in the use of patient portals by practices and patients who both find great value in the tool as an effective, efficient means for supporting patients and positively impacting practice efficiency. All indications are that trend will continue as more oncology practices implement the technology, functionality of portals continues to expand, patients become increasingly comfortable with technology, and practices that already have portals in place continue to encourage patients to use them.   

About the Contributor

Dan Lodder is Vice President and General Manager of Technology Solutions at McKesson Specialty Health.

McKesson Specialty Health, a division of McKesson Corporation, empowers the community patient care delivery system by helping community practices advance the science, technology and quality of care. Through innovative clinical, research, business and operational solutions, facilitated by integrated technology systems, we focus on improving the financial health of our customers so they may provide the best care to their patients. For more information, visit

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