A growing number of patients are turning to the Web to access healthcare information.
In response to this demand, more and more physicians and hospitals are using patient portals as gateways for patients to find information.
Patients can also communicate with their physicians and access services using patient portals. Here is some information to help you understand how.
A patient portal is a website you can use to securely interact with your electronic medical record at your doctor's office to perform some of the routine, health-related tasks that you would normally conduct at the office or by phone.
Most patient portals allow you to conduct the following tasks:
Get results from lab tests and imaging studies
Update your doctor about your condition or medications
Clarify advice given to you during an office visit
Ask general health questions that do not require a routine examination
Request appointments, prescriptions, and referrals
Obtain reliable health and disease information
View and pay bills
If you have a new medical problem that needs to be diagnosed, you can use the patient portal to make an appointment for an office visit. That way, your doctor can conduct a physical exam and ask additional questions.
If you choose to communicate with your doctor using a patient portal, you should keep your messages to your doctor clear and concise. Take the time to organize your thoughts. Remember that the message you send will become part of your medical record.
You should never use a patient portal if you have a medical emergency and need a quick answer. Difficulty breathing, bleeding, or severe abdominal pain all require immediate, personal medical attention.
Well-educated, web-savvy people seem to be the most comfortable with patient portals. But, they are not the only ones. Communicating with a doctor's office online may solve transportation problems for older adults or people who cannot drive.
An increasing number of physicians and hospitals are using patient portals to communicate. If you'd like added healthcare convenience, then a practice that has a patient portal may be right for you.
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