Portal Technology and Patient-Centric Healthcare

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Gary 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #1227 Reply

    Gary Rafaloff

    I’ve been asked to be a speaker and panelist at a corporate event focused on Patient-Centric and Innovative Healthcare taking place in a few weeks. I debated whether or not to participate as I continue to see the whole concept and meaning behind Patient-Centricity being bastardized. I foresee a great concept becoming just another business buzzword as every healthcare related company moves to become “Patient-Centric”. Anyone remember things like “thinking outside the box”, “synergy”, “value-added”, “accountability management” or “customer centric”? When these key words get overused, they tend to lose some of their impact. However, as the conference is to be held in Chicago, where my young grandsons reside, I decided to participate and then visit my family.

    I was given a number of topics that the company would like me to focus on during the all-day conference. One of them involves the recent use of Patient Portals by many medical practices as an example of both innovation and patient-centric healthcare. These portals allow patients to interact with their healthcare providers over the internet. Conveniences such as setting appoints, receiving lab results, and obtaining records are typically available. Other than the inconvenience of adding a half a dozen or so new usernames, passwords and site links to my never ending list, the concept certainly seemed to make sense. Nevertheless, I’ve come to quickly realize that this innovation is actually moving away from, rather toward a more patient centric model. Think about it. I now have independent portals for my neurologist, internist, cardiologist, dermatologist, radiologist, physical therapist, and every other “ist” on my medical team. Amazing as it seems, not one of these medical practices uses the same software portal, so there is literally no interaction among them. So, why is this counterintuitive to the move toward patient centricity? It’s because the patient portal is actually set up to be physician-centric, where your doctors are the hubs holding all of your medical information related to their individual specialties. Around their individual hubs are all of their patients with information flowing on the spokes in one direction, from the hub to the patient. You have no control over these patient portals and one portal has no way to access information from the other.

    To be truly patient centric, we literally need the exact opposite to happen. The patients needs to be the hubs, with the spokes going out to all of the members on their medical teams, and information flowing back and forth. If we had true patient portals, each of us would have one site that all of our physicians would access. They would export all of our reports and data to be housed in one central location. This can include check-ups, blood work, medications, diagnostic and radiological reports, personal and family history, and insurance coverage. The patient would control who has access and what information can be accessed. With this approach, a minor convenience we receive from the current patient portal, becomes a significant improvement in healthcare. When you visit your doctors, they can quickly pull up ALL of your pertinent medical history. No longer would you need to review what meds your are taking or personal history, which becomes harder for us to remember as we age and our PD progresses. It would sort of be like Facebook, where you control the information you post and allow others to see, yet others can also post information on your page. It would be a Medbook instead. This is what I would refer to as a true Patient Centric Portal and a healthcare innovation. This portal model and software probably already exists somewhere, I just haven’t come across it yet in my own medical journey to date.

    #1229 Reply

    Pamela Quinn

    Dear Gary,
    Great analysis and great idea! As we bring our health information all under one roof, so too might we list out health habits:sleep patterns; mood; work life (voluntary or paid); exercise program; diet; dressing/eating abilities, complaints…They may include information that is part of an overall assessment as well.

    #1231 Reply

    Gary Rafaloff

    Another project to add to our burgeoning list, Pam……….

    #1232 Reply

    Sara Riggare

    Dear Gary,

    I completely agree with you and I’ve written on the topic myself:see link


    #1233 Reply

    Sara Riggare
    #1270 Reply


    Sara, you articles were spot on! Healthcare information flow will change dramatically one day when this model is adopted. There is a multi-billion dollar opportunity here for someone to start.

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