Patient Portals are healthcare-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers, such as physicians and hospitals. Typically, portal services are available on the Internet at all hours of the day and night. Some patient portal applications exist as stand-alone web sites and sell their services to healthcare providers.
E-visits may soon become one of the most commonly used options of patient portals. The most likely demographic for uptake of e-visits are patients who live in remote rural areas, far from clinical services. An Internet session would be much cheaper and more convenient than traveling a long distance, especially for simple questions or minor medical complaints.
Providing a route that does not require in-person patient visits to a clinic may potentially benefit both patients and providers. Many organizations find that overall utilization drops when e-visits are implemented, in some places by as much as 25%. This makes e-visits a very interesting proposition for insurance companies, although few actually re-imburse for them currently. E-visits, with the proper functionality, also allow the patient to update their allergies, vital signs, and history information.