How To use Patient Portal Perfectly also Questions to ask on Portal 2023

Patient portal post article will give you complete information on How To use Patient Portal Perfectly like Emory, Labcorp, and also mayo clinic patient portal, Here you will get Questions to ask on Patient Portal which makes more useful online services.

Patient portals typically allow access to EMR data at the organization hosting the portal. The portal can also include access to things such as billing information, online scheduling, questionnaires, and much more.

Patient Portal

The major shortcoming that most patient portals have is that they are tied to only one organization.  If a patient travels to many organizations for their healthcare, they normally need to log into each organization’s portal to get access to their information.

This results in a fragmented view of their data. Enter the PHR (personal health record.

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Patient Portal

A PHR can be thought of as a holding tank for a patient’s health information. A patient portal should not be thought of as a PHR unless it has the ability to import and export medical information from several different sources.

Since most patient portals are not PHR’s, it is important that they have the ability to export data as a CCD/CCR (Continuity of Care Record/Document). The CCD can be imported into major PHR’s like Microsoft’s HealthVault, Epic’s Lucy, or Google Health.

It is a major convenience for patients to be able to take their information with them if they go to other organizations or move to a different location. In addition, patients like to have all their information in one place for ease of review.

A patient portal is an online platform that allows patients to access their medical records, communicate with healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and view test results. Here are the general steps to use a patient portal:

  1. Contact your healthcare provider to request access to their patient portal. They will typically provide you with an enrollment token or a link to register for the portal.
  2. Once you have enrolled in the patient portal, you can log in using your unique username and password.
  3. Explore the portal to view your medical records, which may include your health history, medication list, lab results, and vaccination records. Some portals may also allow you to view and download your medical imaging results such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
  4. Use the portal to communicate with your healthcare provider. You can send messages to your doctor or nurse, request prescription refills, or schedule appointments.
  5. If you have any questions or concerns about using the patient portal, contact your healthcare provider for assistance.

It is important to remember that different healthcare providers may have different features and functionality available on their patient portal, so the specific steps for using the portal may vary.


When considering a patient portal product, make sure it has the ability to export EMR data to a CCD/CCR. PHR’s are still only used by a small percentage of patients,

But as more and more features become available, and as healthcare organizations fully move into the electronic world, the need for PHR integration is critical for all patient portals.

Questions to Ask

Top Vendors

  • Does your product export CCD’ s/CCR’s?
  • Does your portal fully populate the CCD/CCR?
  • If not, what sections of the CCD/CCR are left out?

NOTE: Many vendors do not populate the CCD/CCR fully. This is especially true when dealing with lab/test results. Make sure you check this with your vendor.

For Patients

  • Can I export my information to my PHR?
  • What data is included in the CCD/CCR?

Support for E-Visits

Patients love the convenience of e-visits when available. The best demographic for e-visits are patients who live far away from their clinics, have kids, or who don’t want to spend 2-4 hours for a trip to the doctor when all they need is a quick answer or diagnosis for a minor symptom.

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Support for E-Visits

Some possible symptoms could be a common cold, sinus infections, urinary problems, cough, diarrhea, and back pain.

Providing a route for patients to take that does not require them to come to the clinic benefits them and your organization. Many organizations find that overall utilization drops when e-visits are implemented, some places by as much as 25%.


A patient portal offering e-visit functionality needs to provide several tools to make the e-visit flow usable. For starters, most states require that a patient is notified upfront that they may be charged for the visit, so having a terms and conditions agreement option is critical.

The phr should also allow for the entry of history, allergies, vitals, and other information collected during a standard office visit.

Since the information is provided by the patient, the data should not immediately sync in with the permanent chart until reviewed by a clinician or physician. Since the CMS code 99444 states that a timely response is required, work queue functionality must exist so that the e-visits are reviewed by physicians quickly.

Code 99444 also states that an e-visit can only occur with an existing patient, once in any given seven-day period.

Questions to Ask

Top Vendors

  • Is there integration to process credit card payments?
  • Can questionnaires be customized based on the symptom the patient enters?
  • What kind of logic can be configured to route the e-visit request to the appropriate provider?
  • What tools are available to the provider to work the e-visits quickly and efficiently?

Are there customizable restrictions available to help comply with the laws, such as only allowing one e-visit in a seven-day period? Or are people working the e-visits required to check for compliance?

For Patients
  • How much does it cost? (most places charge $30-$35, but the majority of patients feel like they should be cheaper or that they should be free)
  • How long will it take to hear back?
  • Can I get a prescription via an e-visit?

Online Billing

Most folks expect to be able to pay their bills online. It saves the patient and the organization time and money. Collection rates will go up because the accuracy of billing improves, and patients are more likely to pay when it is convenient for them.

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Online Billing


Just think about what tools are available to you when you go to pay your cell phone bill online. The patient portal vendor should offer similar features, i.e., bill pay, electronic statements, charge and claim review, etc.

This type of functionality has been around for years from the major banks and credit card companies, and it is high time the health care world caught up.

Questions to Ask

There are many Questions to Ask on the Patient Portal, and You can ask as you want to know. Here we are sharing some of the most asked questions for patients and doctors, and I mean most asked by users. You can check it too:-

Top Vendors

  • Can patients pay their bills online?
  • What credit are card APIs supported?
  • Are there extra costs or license fees when using the billing features?
  • Are accurate electronic statements available? If so, can they replace paper statements?
  • Is there opt-in functionality to support patients switching to electronic statements?
For Patients
  • Can I pay my bill online?
  • Can I view my statement online?
  • Are there extra fees for paying my bill online?

Proxy Access to Other

Many folks use phr’s and patient portals to manage the care of their family members. Proxy access is a great tool for moms and dads that want more control over their children’s health care.

With proxy access to a child’s record, you can message a physician or schedule an appointment on behalf of the child, in addition to being able to review their medical record.

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Proxy Access to Other Medical Records

This feature should not only be limited to children. Others prefer proxy access in order to better control and understand their elderly parents’ care too.

Whatever the case, you will want this feature because most of the time, when the proxy is requested and needed, the ones whose records are being shared are not capable of logging in themselves.


When you roll out your patient portal, you will get a lot of requests each day from patients wanting proxy access to family. It is crucial that your vendor provides an easy, efficient, and electronic way to handle and process these requests. The access itself should also be configurable because some age groups have strict laws that protect what their proxies can see.

The best example of this is when parents get a proxy for their teenage children. The teenagers have a right to privacy in most states, and it is illegal to show things like clinical information related to reproductive health, even to parents.

If your vendor does not allow you to filter certain pieces of data when rolling out proxy access, you should question whether to turn it on at all…especially for teens.

You could get into hot water if someone viewed information in a way that violates your state laws.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

  • Can I filter what features are available to someone viewing someone else’s record via proxy access?
  • Is information viewed via proxy access audit-able?

For Patients

  • Can I control who has access to my record through the patient portal?
  • Can I control what features are available to those users who do have a proxy?
  • Can I request proxy access electronically through the portal, or do I have to fill out paperwork and mail or fax?

Web-Based Administrative Tools

Having web-based administration tools to reset passwords, change login IDs, activate accounts, deactivate accounts, and to troubleshoot problems is critical to sustaining a Patient Portal with 10’s of thousands of patients.

The reason why these tools should be web-based is that you will likely outsource the help desk aspect of your portal since staffing one internally can be a huge undertaking.

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Web-Based Administrative Tools

Be sure to press your vendor on what tools are available to make supporting the patient portal sustainable. Most don’t offer these tools and are not clear upfront about how much money it costs to outsource a help desk.

If the admin tools are not web-based, you will spend much more money buying licenses for things like Citrix and your EMR (if the portal is linked to it) so you can provide access to your internal systems from the outside. The tools should be secure, easy to use, and efficient.

Keep in mind that outsourcing your help desk isn’t cheap, especially if you are planning to roll-out your patient portal on a tight budget. I have seen estimates from help desk services providers that require a $5,000-$10,000 setup fee, a monthly fee of $1500-$10,000, and a charge per call in the $20 range.


Web-based tools should allow for account look-ups, account verification, password resets, login ID changes, access code generation, account activation, and account deactivation.

Bonus: If your vendor provides the ability to track calls and take notes on each call, that is huge. This will give you the ability to track help desk usage if you plan to keep it internal.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

  • Are your clients typically outsourcing their help desks?
  • Do you have web-based admin tools?
  • What features does your admin toolkit provide?
  • How secure is the admin portion of the web portal?
  • Are there audit trails of admin user activity?
  • Can you track patient calls with your system?

For Patients

  • What are the business hours for the help desk?
  • When should I call the help desk?

Online Rx Refills and Renewals

In my experience, a decent majority of messages being sent from patients to physicians have to do with getting an Rx refilled or changed when Rx refills and renewals are not available in the portal.

A patient portal allowing patients to directly refill or renew their meds saves physicians some work because they come in as specific items in a queue that can be worked more efficiently than when they are mixed in with general medical inquiry messages.

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Online Rx Refills and Renewals

Having this feature keeps patients coming back and will increase the overall usage of the portal. Patients prefer to request renewals and refills online rather than calling on the phone.


In an ideal system, the patient can track the refills they have available, can pick their preferred pharmacy, and will be notified via the portal when their meds are ready for pickup (unless they are delivered).

On the physician side, these requests should flow into a queue separate from general messages they get from patients so they can be quickly worked.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

  • Where do the requests from patients go?
  • What tools are available to work the messages?
  • How does it integrate with pharmacy directories?

For Patients

  • Do my requests get passed to my pharmacy automatically?
  • Will I be notified when my request is processed?
  • What is the expected turnaround time for processing requests?

Direct Link to the Organization’s Data

A real-time link to the underlying EMR data is very important when implementing a patient portal.  Real-time links provide the ability to schedule directly to the scheduling system at your organization,

Allow patients to fill out questionnaires that can be synched with their internal chart, and allow patients to update demographic information, so your records stay up to date.

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Direct Link to the Organization's DataDirect Link to the Organization's Data

Many other possibilities exist that will make future workflows more successful. E-Visits, messaging and billing all become much more feasible if the portal ties in with your EMR and billing systems.

Many vendors out there are basically selling a shell website that only works with asynchronous communication to your databases.

This usually comes in the form of functionality that ends in “request.”

The “request” piece means a glorified email is sent to someone at your organization to review and manually enter into your system. This can be very time consuming, resource-intensive, and offer no savings over telephone calls. Patients get delayed service, and your resources get over-utilized…You do not want this!


Simple…direct link via an interface or as part of a proprietary EMR solution. Period.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

  • What are the interfacing options available? (if Portal comes from a different vendor than your EMR)
  • How is the direct link secure?
  • How do you prevent performance and record locking issues if data can be accessed directly from the website?
  • Will advanced functionality respect business rules configured in the internal EMR systems?

For Patients

  • How current is the information I see online?

Patient Medical Information

I think the reasons are obvious for this feature. A patient wants access to their own medical information. The patient is truly the owner of their medical history, so they should have 24/7 access to it.
Patient Medical Information
Also, providing this information keeps patients more involved in their care and can lead to improved outcomes because patients take better care of themselves.

A system should, at the very least, be able to send out the Test Results, Problem Lists, Current Medications, Allergies, and Immunizations. Another requirement is the capability for physicians to control what gets sent to the patients, or at least the ability to display patient-friendly names for medical terminology.

I know this doesn’t sound very patient-focused, but you will need this in your back pocket if you plan to roll this functionality out at your organization.

Many places become concerned about opening up an unfiltered view of patients’ medical records online without some sort of control. Without these features, you will be hard-pressed to sell this to your physicians and clinicians.

Questions to Ask

To Vendors

  • What control do we have over the data released to patients?
  • How do patients see the information in the portal? How easy is it for them to print or export to a PHR (personal health record)?
  • Is content linking available?
  • Does your system link to statewide immunization registries also?

For Patients

  • Am I able to see all of my health information?
  • Is anything restricted from my view? If so, why?
  • How far back does my online medical history allow me to see?

Messaging to Physicians

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 convenience.

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Messaging to Physicians

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 provides 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 send a message cost me any money?

This will allow them to not only assess the learning, but also how they manage time during exams.

Q: What Is a Patient Portal? A: A Patient Portal is an online platform that enables patients to access their personal health records, interact with healthcare providers and manage various healthcare tasks related to them.

Q: How can I access a Patient Portal? A: In order to access a Patient Portal, please visit the website or online portal provided by your healthcare provider or medical institution and navigate there using your credentials to create an account and log-in with.

Q: What can I access through a Patient Portal? A: Patient Portals provide access to medical records, such as lab results, medications, allergies, immunizations, visit summaries and discharge instructions. In some cases, radiology images and reports may also be included within these portals.

Q: Can I book appointments through a Patient Portal? A: Absolutely! Many Patient Portals enable patients to book appointments online. Typically you can see available timeslots, choose an ideal time and request the booking through the portal.

Question: Am I able to communicate with my healthcare providers via a Patient Portal?
A: Absolutely, Patient Portals typically include secure messaging features to allow patients to easily connect with healthcare providers. Using these portals, patients can send and receive messages, make enquiries about refilling prescriptions or seeking advice from healthcare providers through secure messaging features.

Q: Can I access and pay my medical bills through a Patient Portal? A: Patient Portals provide access to billing information, enabling patients to view and pay medical bills online securely through the portal. They allow users to review statements, track payment history, and make payments securely using this method.

Q: Are educational resources available on a Patient Portal? A: Yes, many Patient Portals provide educational resources such as articles, videos and links to reliable health websites in order to give patients information regarding medical conditions, treatments and healthy lifestyle practices.

Q: Can I Request Prescription Refills Through a Patient Portal? A: Absolutely, Patient Portals enable patients to submit refill requests online through them and they will then be reviewed and processed by either your healthcare provider or pharmacy.

Question: Am I able to access my family members’ healthcare information using a Patient Portal? A: Absolutely.
A: Patient Portals offer features to allow authorized users, such as parents or caregivers, to easily access and manage health records for multiple family members or dependents at once. This enables convenient management of multiple healthcare records.

Q: Am I able to view and download my test results through a Patient Portal? A: Yes. Patient Portals provide access to results such as lab reports, radiology images and pathology results that you can securely view, download and share through them.

Q: Can I update my personal information via a Patient Portal? A: Patient Portals provide patients with the ability to update their contact details, address and insurance data through their profile or settings section within the portal.

Q: Is There A Mobile App To Access Patient Portals? A: Many Patient Portals now offer mobile apps which can be downloaded from app stores for convenient access to their features and allow patients to manage healthcare on the go.

Q: Can I access vaccination records via a Patient Portal? A: Absolutely, Patient Portals provide access to immunization records so patients can stay up-to-date on recommended immunizations and track their history of immunizations.

Q: Am I able to submit forms online through a Patient Portal?
A: Certain Patient Portals provide an option to complete and submit forms digitally, such as consent forms, medical history questionnaires, or pre-appointment questionnaires – thus eliminating paper processes altogether.

Q: Can I access Telehealth services through a Patient Portal? Its A: Some Patient Portals incorporate Telehealth services into their service offering, enabling patients to schedule and conduct virtual appointments with healthcare providers through this method, providing convenient access to healthcare remotely.

Q: Am I able to track or enter data into a Patient Portal? A: Some Patient Portals offer features that enable patients to track various health measurements such as blood pressure, weight, or glucose levels in a user-friendly way. They can either manually enter this data themselves or sync it from compatible devices or apps.

Q: Am I able to gain access to educational materials specific to my medical condition through a Patient Portal?
A: Yes, Patient Portals offer educational materials tailored specifically for your medical condition or treatment plan, helping you gain greater insight and manage your health more effectively. This can provide invaluable support as you manage and treat yourself effectively.

Q: Am I able to view upcoming appointments and receive reminders through a Patient Portal? A: Yes.
A: Yes, patient portals typically display upcoming appointments and send reminders via email or notification within the portal to keep patients organized and ensure that they remember when their scheduled appointments are due. This helps patients remain on top of their appointments.

Q: Can I grant access to my Patient Portal to family or caregiver? A: Many Patient Portals feature features that enable patients to grant their healthcare data access by designated family or caregiver members – this enables collaboration and coordination of care more easily.

Q: Will technical support be available if I experience issues with a Patient Portal? A: Technical support may be available should any issues arise when using a Patient Portal.
A: Yes, patient portals typically provide technical support options like helpdesk or customer support contacts that you can turn to should any issues or questions arise regarding the portal. Should any difficulties or confusion occur within it, there will be support channels to reach out for help – simply make use of them!

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