Are Patient Portals the Gateways to Hell? Some physicians and other health providers in the medical community seem to think so.

Part of the federal Meaningful Use Program’s stage 2 mandates that a minimum of 5% of patients electronically send their health data to their providers.

Doctors and other healthcare providers are becoming anxious over reaching this goal by the required date of 2014 and wonder if this implementation of patient engagement can even be done.

CMO of Database, Zachary Landman, M.D. was asked this question and stated,

“I think it’s going to be a rocky transition.  There really aren’t too many people that are doing effective patient engagement”.

Then, too, what about the geriatric population and patient engagement?  Many of them are not technical, and they are suspicious of the security involved with entering their personal information onto the computer.  They may be right!

The thing is, incorporating patient portals into an electronic health record system, does not mean that patients will automatically use them.

Don’t Put Patient’s Down!  They ARE capable and interested!

Although this prevailing attitude reflects the skepticism felt by many in the medical community that patients are disinterested in managing their own healthcare, it is simply not so.  In this patient centric age that we have entered, this premise is shortsighted. The majority of patients surveyed expressed an interest and desire in gathering information on their health in the quest to improve their health conditions and in pursuit of maintaining a healthy life.

Joanne Rohde, the CEO of Axial Exchange agrees.  She says, “There is this latent belief in the healthcare buy liquid ventolin industry that it’s too complicated, patients won’t understand it, they’re not going to do it. Our view is that’s simply not true.  Most people want to be well and most people want to understand what’s going on in their bodies.  If it’s complicated, but pertains to them, they’re going to learn about it.”

Ms. Rohde feels that the majority of patients are interested.  When the healthcare industry only concentrates on the small minority of patients who are uninterested, it does a great disfavor to all those interested in pursuing knowledge about their own health conditions.

Research by Axial Exchange found that patients have an affinity for recording their moods and have incorporated this into their patient portals. Axial’s portal apps allow access to the Mayo Clinic medical library and many health trackers, of which mood is only one of many health parameters.

Rohde further explains “We’re going to teach you about your disease and we’re going to teach you how to take care of yourself.  And that’s the huge distinction in my mind between best practice and checking the box” (that a patient portal is part of a doctor’s emr system.)

The fact is that once patients seek consultation with their doctors, they are already demonstrating interest in finding out about their health and how to maintain it.

Trying to seek information can unfortunately lead to getting misinformation on computer sites where there is a different agenda.

You can find out how to distinguish good sites from bad ones in the book “Patient Power: The Medical Strategist” on