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Patient Portal and PHR Info
PHR's and Patient Portals Examined

Messaging to Physicians: 2 of 10 Critical Features of Patient Portals


Messaging to physicians is a huge plus if patients have a follow-up question about a recent visit with a doctor.  Messaging allows them to privately seek additional information about a prescription, symptom, or general question at their convienance.  It is also a big win for organizations because it keeps patients off the phone and allows the clinicians to respond when they have time.


Messaging tends to make physicians nervous.  They typically worry that they will be overwhelmed with messages from patients and that it will create a lot of extra work and headaches.  This is why it is critical that any system offering this functionality provide the capability of routing inquiries to designated staff that filter the messages before sending them on to the physicians.  This way the non-physician staff can respond to simple and routine inquiries and save the more complicated questions for the physicians.  Another requirement is that the system allows you to track messaging statistics.  This will become very important when trying to convince doctors that they will not be flooded with messages from patients.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

How are messages retained in the EMR?  Do they remain part of the patient’s chart?

How can messages be routed to make sure they are filtered before a physician looks at them?

Is there a way to know if a patient reads messages or not?

Are the messages secure?

For Patients

Who can I message?

What kind of turnaround can I expect when I send in a question?

Does sending a message cost me any money?

Posted by Aaron Carlock on October 17th, 2009 :: Filed under Choosing a Patient Portal
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