Do you take advantage of online banking? I do and it’s great. I can check my account balance from my iPhone. I can transfer money from one account to another with the click of a mouse. I can pay my bills without licking a stamp. It’s convenient, it’s easy and it’s efficient.
Access to my account on-line makes it easy for me to pay attention to my account. I used to have to wait until my statement arrived by mail once a month to reconcile my check book register, with online banking I can do it at my leisure at any point of the month. I’m a more informed consumer and I have the ability to make informed decisions.
Most Americans believe their financial health is their responsibility as is the record keeping associated with their finances. They also accept that a screw up in their record keeping will be costly and they will be charged overdraft fees but do we spend as much time monitoring our physical health?
I’m going to guess that many people can provide a “rough” idea of their checking account balance but can they do the same if asked about their cholesterol level? Not likely, but it’s about to get easier. One of the requirements of Meaningful Use, a federal program designed to encourage health care providers to implement electronic health records, is the creation of a patient portal.
The patient portal works a lot like online banking. A consumer, also known as a patient, can log in to a secure site and find information related to their care. The patient has access to his or her medical information at their fingertips. There are lots of benefits to the use of a patient portal. Patients no longer have to wait for a call from their provider’s office to get test results. Patients can make more informed decisions based on data. Patients will ask more questions because information in the portal will increase curiosity. Patients can become better informed consumers. Most importantly patients can, and will, become more engaged in their care.
GVMH rolled out our patient portal to inpatients months ago and we will soon be providing outpatients the same access. In the coming months you’ll see more and more information about the portal and I’d encourage you to log in and understand your numbers. Your physical health is much more important than your financial health, after all, what good is money if you aren’t around to spend it…