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Essential Services Provided by the Healthcare Sector Globally

Essential Services Provided by the Healthcare Sector Globally

Essential Services Provided by the Healthcare Sector Globally

The student will write a scholarly paper (minimum of 1500 to maximum 3000 words) that evaluates a health information technology /virtual practice hours health information system (CIS): healthcare website, social media, mobile application, electronic health record, patient portal, or other e-health tool) for its effectiveness, ease of navigation, health-related content, and technology design. The paper must address how the health information technology addresses the manner in which it can accommodate populations with specific needs (limited literacy, ethnic, vulnerable populations or other limitations of its intended audience) and cite the added value of the health technology to consumers? Identify any relevant limitations or deficits and provide suggestions to enhance or improve through the use of technology.

A discussion of your findings in a formal APA 6th edition scholarly format should include:

● A defined virtual practice hours problem in health care, such as care delivery, access, staffing, reimbursement, etc.
● A proposed technology implementation to address/solve the virtual practice hours problem.
Essential Services Provided by the Healthcare Sector Globally


Assignment 2: Patient Portals

Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation
Course Name and Number
Instructor’s Name

Assignment 2: Patient Portals
The healthcare sector provides essential services globally, thus emphasizing their importance. The general population and other sectors of the economy in any country across the globe rely on the services from this sector to enable them to function efficiently. However, various challenges face the healthcare sectors, thus hindering their ability to deliver high-quality and safe healthcare services efficiently. This leads to devastating impacts on patients’ health outcomes and the general population’s poor quality of life. Fortunately, the world has undergone various transformations, significantly due to technological advancements in different sectors, including healthcare.
The incorporation of technology has helped address the various challenges initially experienced in the healthcare sector. Through this, there has been enhanced delivery of healthcare services, which has subsequently enhanced patient health outcomes and improved the quality of life of the general population (Okpala, 2018). Even with the current technology being applied in the healthcare sector, some gaps exist that are barriers to maximum utilization of these technological advancements. This opens room for improvement to ensure that the general population maximally benefits from technology in healthcare. Technology has been used in different ways to help in the delivery of healthcare information to patients. This has been made possible through; healthcare websites, social media, mobile applications, electronic health records, patient portals, and other e-health tools (Okpala, 2018). This paper focuses on the patient portal. It will address how it accommodates populations with specific needs, its added value to consumers, its limitations, and the recommendations to enhance its use.
How Patient Portal Accommodates Populations with Specific Needs
The patient portal is an online healthcare-related application, which provides a platform that enables the patients to easily communicate and interact with their care providers and the hospitals. Each patient has a portal with personal log-in details. They can access these portals any time of the day or night once they fill in the log-in credentials as required (Griffin et al., 2016). Once they are logged in to these portals, they can easily navigate by following the instructions. For instance, they can ask questions, access their health information, schedule medical appointments, review laboratory results, leave comments, send emails, and even request prescription refills online.
These features enable patients to communicate with their healthcare providers (Griffin et al., 2016). The enhanced communication between the patients and the healthcare providers improves efficiency in delivering healthcare information, thus ensuring timely healthcare service delivery that is crucial for enhancing better patient health outcomes. The incidences of chronic conditions are rising, with most patients requiring regular follow-up, some of which are lifelong. Frequent hospital visits for check-ups and prescription refills can be costly, especially for those living far away from the hospitals, such as in the rural setting. Similarly, chronic conditions make it difficult to make regular visits to health facilities.
In addition, some individuals do not like talking about their health issues through messages or phone calls for confidentiality reasons. The patient portal provides a secure platform where patients can discuss their health concerns freely without fear of such information landing in insecure hands. Besides, patients can easily communicate with their healthcare providers without being physically present in the health facilities (Han et al., 2019). Phone calls are also associated with delays, especially when there are many calls and some patients have to be put on hold. This may hinder the delivery of healthcare services, especially in emergencies. Patient portals enhance prompt feedback from healthcare providers and promote convenience for the patients, as they can easily schedule appointments with the healthcare providers.
The Added Value of Patient Portal to Consumers
Patient portal has had significant benefits to the patients, especially when these portals are appropriately integrated into the patients’ lives. Firstly, there is the ease of communication between the patients and the healthcare providers, since the portal removes all the barriers that may hinder effective communication, such as long waiting hours and delays which are experienced when the phone calls have to be on hold due to increased number of patients seeking medical attention (Han et al., 2019). Secondly, patient portals have enhanced fast solutions since healthcare providers can access the patients’ concerns and address them immediately. Besides, the portals promotes efficient management of chronic conditions, as affected patients can easily consult the healthcare providers about their conditions (Han et al, 2019). The healthcare provider will, in turn, advise them appropriately. Through the various ways, the patient portals have so far added value to the patients, who are the primary consumers of various healthcare services, emphasizing the need to embrace and actualize it in the patients’ lives.
Limitations or Deficits of Patient Portals
Despite the patient portal’s development to enhance patients’ ability to access their health information and communicate with their care providers, reports indicate that only a third of these patients access their health information through the portal. This is a clear indication that the existence of these portals does not directly translate to patient engagement. The other limitation is that these portals majorly focus on enhancing access to healthcare information by these patients but lacks a proper hub that can enable the patients to engage in their care (Baldwin et al., 2017). Additionally, although most patients prefer patient portals in carrying out their various health needs, many facilities are yet to adopt this tool, thereby denying most patients access.
The other limitation of patient portals includes the lack of interoperability. The system cannot accommodate health information from 2 different hospitals, meaning that the patient must log in to two different platforms to access their health information, contradicting (Baldwin et al., 2017). The test results which the patients can access through these portals lack adequate explanation compared to face-to-face scenarios. Therefore, the patient has to consult the doctor further and ask for further clarifications. The use of online services, including patient portals, requires computer literacy.
Therefore, individuals with low computer literacy are unlikely to benefit from the portal, despite being in need (Baldwin et al., 2017). There is also inadequate training of patients on how to use these portals, thus locking some of the patients away from using these services and raising the need to seek help from others on how to use these portals, which can hinder their confidentiality. Lastly, despite the portal being secure, it does not rule out the possibility of a security breach when the patient’s health information may land into unauthorized hands, thus affecting the patient’s confidentiality (Baldwin et al., 2017). Additionally, screenshots of health information taken from the portal are not protected; therefore, they can also be accessed by unnecessary third parties.
Recommendations to Enhance the Use of Patient Portal
There are various suggestions that, when implemented, are crucial in improving the use of patient portals, and subsequently, their impacts on patient management and delivery of healthcare information. Hospitals yet to establish this tool should be encouraged to do so, so that a wide range of patients benefit from them (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). Additionally, the hospitals should provide access to devices and bring-your-device platforms to enhance portal access. Besides, the hospitals using these tools should orient patients and their caregivers to use the devices and the portal (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). In addition, hospitals should ensure that the content available in these portals is up to date and can easily be understood by the patients.
More patients should be encouraged to register after adequate awareness is raised on the benefits of such portals and how to use them efficiently. Furthermore, the portals should be modified so that they can provide clinical summaries to the patients and explain various test results and their meanings (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). This will help in minimizing the need to further consult a doctor physically for clarifications. It is also significant to educate the patients on how to ensure the safety of their information by not sharing the log-in credentials with anyone or taking screenshots from the portal as these could limit the ability of the platform to ensure patient confidentiality (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). Reports indicate that few patients use these portals, thus emphasizing the need to encourage them to use them as it will enhance patient engagement.
Besides, the portals should be modified to enable the patients to participate in their management, rather than acting majorly as a health information platform (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). It is also essential to assess the patients’ needs and their abilities to use these platforms before going ahead and registering them for such services. These needs include computer literacy, which should be adequately evaluated to determine the ability of the patient to use the computers as required by these portals so that necessary measure is taken to enable the patient to benefit from such portals. This could be through using a caregiver with computer knowledge to run the portals for the patients. Lastly, further research is required to enable patients to access health information from the same portal without logging in differently (Price-Haywood et al., 2017). This will enhance the convenience and prevent confusion that may arise due to information from different hospitals.
In summary, technological advancements have enhanced operations of various sectors, with the healthcare system benefitting significantly from the same. Technology has enhanced care delivery, which has subsequently improved patient health outcomes and overall quality of life. This discussion focused on patient portals as one of the technologies applied in the healthcare sector. The portals have had many advantages, mainly by enhancing healthcare information delivery and promoting communication between the healthcare providers and the patients. Through these, the technology has helped address the various challenges that previously existed in healthcare, such as phone delays, long waiting hours in health facilities, and the need to frequently travel to healthcare facilities for regular check-ups among those with chronic health conditions. However, various limitations hinder the effectiveness of such portals. The various limitations emphasize the need to develop strategies that will enhance the effectiveness of these portals and enable numerous patients to use them to improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Baldwin, J. L., Singh, H., Sittig, D. F., & Giardina, T. D. (2017, September). Patient portals and health apps: Pitfalls, promises, and what one might learn from the other. In Healthcare (Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 81-85). Elsevier.
Griffin, A., Skinner, A., Thornhill, J., & Weinberger, M. (2016). Patient portals. Applied clinical informatics, 7(02), 489-501.
Han, H. R., Gleason, K. T., Sun, C. A., Miller, H. N., Kang, S. J., Chow, S., … & Bauer, T. (2019). Using patient portals to improve patient outcomes: systematic review. JMIR human factors, 6(4), e15038.
Okpala, P. (2018). Assessment of the influence of technology on the cost of healthcare service and patient’s satisfaction. International Journal of Healthcare Management, 11(4), 351-355.
Price-Haywood, E. G., Harden-Barrios, J., Ulep, R., & Luo, Q. (2017). eHealth literacy: patient engagement in identifying strategies to encourage use of patient portals among older adults. Population health management, 20(6), 486-494.

Essential Services Provided by the Healthcare Sector Globally

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