In a LinkedIn response to my post about multiple patient portal logins I got this insightful commentary from Stuart Jarvis on the challenges of patient portals that I think will help to expand the conversation about patient portals:
The patient portal is a nice idea but the complications of hippa rules and penalties makes it not worth the effort.
I would be nice if digital devices linked directly into EMR’s but here are the reasons that it will probably never happen;
1. Most digital devices that are not made/developed by the EMR vendor (like
Philips or GE) will not interface cleanly
2. Most of the digital devices are islands unto themselves related to both hardware
3. Many of the devices that you are probably talking about generate meaningful
data, but are so old in terms of technology and software, that getting the
data would be very painful
4. The last item is that these devices generate so much data and reports, most
of which are not what the doctor wants to see that the doctor will not use
them because it takes to long to get to the small amounts of information that
they do want.
I think it’s great to expand the discussion of patient portals to include integration with the data to a device. The other integration that we’ll have to consider is integration between a patient portal and a health information exchange. Yes, I know that’s farther down the road, but visions of the cloud are so much more exciting than carrying a device around with your information.
I think the last point is the one that resonates the most with me. We’re on the precipice where physicians are going to be inundated with data. In some ways we’re already there. We need smart systems that can transform that data into something useful for the doctor. We need technology to filter through the mass of data to get the “small amounts of information” that the physician does want. I think that’s a major part of the challenge of the next five years.