A Portal is Not Patient Engagement

Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the country attending events focused on engaging patients in their health and healthcare care using health information technologies. One key observation I have made is using a patient portal does not achieve true patient engagement for patients and providers.

I spoke with and met several well know patients such as; ePatient Dave, Mighty Casey and, Morgan Gleason. They all agree that true patient engagement requires providers to listen to and make the patient part of the process. It also requires patients to actively participate in the care process, have access to and, the ability to inform their health data and, partner with their care providers for patient engagement to be successful. They all agree that health information technologies are a great tool to achieve patient engagement however; a patient portal alone is not the solution to achieving patient engagement. Morgan shared with me that she had eight patient portals with different providers, with different IDs and passwords. Care coordination for Morgan’s is only complicated by eight portals versus having a one common technology platform for her and her provider.

Recently I had the opportunity to sign-up for my own patient portal only to realize that the process was not as straightforward as I had hoped. In addition my practice was struggling with the portal workflow and functionality for their providers and patients. As I write this I still do not have access to my lab results via my patient portal. I will have to play telephone tag with my physician to obtain my results. There must be a better way!

I know we have the solutions to support patient-centered health engagement, whether via platforms, mobile applications and new and emerging technologies.

HIMSS15 presents a great opportunity for us to listen, learn and engage. This year we have partnered with Walgreens and their partners to develop the Connected Patient Gallery, North Building, Hall B, booth 8127 and the mHealth Knowledge Center, North Building, Hall B, Booth 8368

We also have many education sessions focused on patient and consumer engagement technologies. On Sunday we will host a pre-conference Symposia Patient Engagement Across Care Settings: Managing Change and a special Patient Engagement Forum on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, room S401, free for HIMSS15 attendees.

You can also do your part by actively participating  in our virtual discussions on twitter using #Enage4Health and #HIMSS15 and signing up for the HIMSS Wellness Challenge. Members of the Walking Gallery including myself will be “walking” to the HIMSS Block Party also on Wednesday in room S406, Vista Ballroom | McCormick Place Convention Center 5:30-7:30  representing the neighborhood of the Patient.

If you are not able to join us at HIMSS15 I encourage you to join our HIMSS Connected Patient Community or access our live HIMSS15 virtual program.

I know we can make a difference in engaging patients and providers in their health and healthcare I encourage you to become involved and make a difference.


I hope to meet you in Chicago!



This entry was posted in HIMSS15, Patient Engagement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Portal is Not Patient Engagement

  1. Reblogged this on Family Practice 2.0 and commented:
    Patient certainly don’t consider Portals the end-all be-all to patient engagement. Neither should physicians and C-suits

  2. Disappointed says:

    I have discovered that by utilizing only a patient portal to post lab results, my Dr has cost me 2 years of untreated diabetes. I only received an email stating that my labs were posted (blood work from an annual visit). I was never told to come back in for a review of the borderline to elevated blood sugar levels so I trusted that this level must not have been of much concern to my Dr so no further action was needed. I recently had my annual check up and the same thing occurred – only this time I called to ask about it and after further testing – I now have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. If this had been handled better, I could have gotten a head start on battling this condition. Instead, it is worse. What ever happened to a Dr reviewing lab results and sending a communication letting a patient know that something is out of range so come back in for a visit?!

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