What is a Patient Portal?

A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients and families convenient access to personal health information. Patients can use a portal to access:

  • admission summaries
  • hospital discharge summaries
  • medication lists
  • immunizations
  • allergies
  • lab results
  • educational material regarding health conditions

Features and Benefits of using a Patient Portal

The central feature that makes any system a patient portal is the ability to expose an individual to his or her individual patient health information in a secure manner through the internet. In addition, virtually all patient portals allow patients to interact in some way with health care providers. Patient portals benefit both patients and providers by increasing efficiency and productivity. Patient portals are also regarded as a key tool to help physicians meet ‘Meaningful Use” requirements in order to receive federal incentive checks, especially for providing health information to patients.

Why use a patient portal?

A portal:

  • allows patients to collaborate with their healthcare team in healthcare decisions
  • gives patients a sense of connectedness to their healthcare team
  • provides value for patients, families, and the healthcare team


Is it secure?

Health care providers in the US are bound to comply with HIPAA regulations. These regulations specify what patient information must be held in confidence. Something as seemingly trivial as a name is viewed by HIPAA as Protected Health Information. For this reason, security has always been a top concern for Elkview General Hospital when dealing with the adoption of patient portals. Our patient portal is secured through the use of SSL, access control patterns and is compliant with all HIPAA regulations. Your access is validated through the use of a secure username and password that should never be shared with anyone other than those deemed responsible for your healthcare needs. No Elkview employee will ever ask you for your password.

Hospital Stage 2 Meaningful Use Requirements

Stage 2 of the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs includes requirements that are supported by use of a patient portal.

  • Provide timely online access to health information for more than 50% of patients discharged, with more than 5% actually viewing, downloading, or transmitting health information to a third party
  • More than 10% of all patients admitted are provided patient-specific education resources