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Patient portal review raises questions of sector

The majority of general practices in New Zealand now have the technology to begin giving patients online access to their own medical records and to allow them to interact with patients electronically. Patients First has just completed a review of the “Patient Portals” that are offered by New Zealand general practice software makers. This review was completed in conjunction with the National Institute for Health Innovation and it looks at what is offered by the software makers.

“Although almost all general practices now have the technical capability to offer their patients access to their own medical records online, less than 25% of general practices are using Patient Portals regularly”, said today Patients First CEO, Jayden MacRae. “Most patients will see the benefits of these systems when they can book appointments, review test results, order repeat prescriptions and send short electronic messages to their general practice online. Giving patients access to their own information is the first step towards a more interactive electronic experience.”

“There are still many areas of uncertainty around how electronic interactions will integrate in current work flows in practices and this is one of the prime reasons uptake has been modest.”

The review found that three of the four major software makers that supply systems to New Zealand general practice already have systems that allow patients to access their own information across secure internet connections. Each system provides similar functionality allowing patients to view their own records, to view test results, request appointments and repeat prescription refills and to send short messages to their practice.

The National Health IT Board is promoting the uptake of patient portals through the e-Health Ambassador programme. This programme identifies GPs who are early leaders who can share their experiences with their colleagues. The review suggests that there may be utility in identifying patients who can also promote the use and benefits of such portals to their peers.

“The review raises more questions than it provides answers, but in doing this it creates a focal point for further discussion in the sector”, said Mr MacRae.

The review report is available from the Patients First website www.patientsfirst.org.nz <http://www.patientsfirst.org.nz> .

Facts Patients First Ltd is a not-for-profit limited liability company that works within the health sector to achieve quality health outcomes for patients by facilitating information system integration and promoting quality information frameworks.

The Patient Portal review is available from www.patientsfirst.org.nz

The Patient Portal review is the first of four in a series also covering, Cloud and Hosted Practice Management Systems, PMS Prescribing Modules and Practice Support.


For more information contact:
Jayden MacRae, CEO, Patients First
Phone: 021 911 943
Email: jayden.macrae@patientsfirst.org.nz

More information about Patients First can be found at www.patientsfirst.org.nz

See report: Patient Portals for PMS Requirements Review

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