Take Ownership of Your Health with Your Patient Portal
May 03, 2023 | Family Medicine , Urgent Care | Share:
You have plenty of apps and online tools to keep up with on a daily basis. So why add a patient portal to the mix? Isn’t it your doctor’s job to monitor your health?
You may be surprised to learn that your patient portal is a valuable tool that can help you take more ownership of your health. Through its robust features, a patient portal allows patients to access their account features, monitor and track changes in their health, and communicate easily with their healthcare providers.
Our guide is designed to help you learn more about the many features of MedHelp’s Patient Portal.
What is a Patient Portal?
A patient portal provides individuals with access to a patient-centered view of their EMR, or Electronic Medical Record. While most people are familiar with medical charts, you may have never heard of an EMR. But an EMR is simply a digital version of a patient’s medical chart.
When your doctor brings a laptop into the exam room, it isn’t so they can stay up-to-date on the news or check their email. Instead, they’re using their laptop to access your medical history, make notes about your current visit, request laboratory testing, refill prescriptions, and coordinate referrals. EMRs streamline your appointment so that your doctor can provide informed, patient-focused healthcare.
The patient portal view allows a patient to have convenient and secure access to their personal medical records. Patient portals are both password-protected and HIPPA-compliant, so no one can see your medical records except for you and your doctor.
Who can use a Patient Portal?
Not all doctor’s offices utilize a patient portal, so you’ll need to ask your doctor if one is available to you. Some doctors may use an EMR without making a portal view available to their patients, and other doctors don’t use EMRs at all. At MedHelp, all of our providers utilize an EMR for our patients.
If you visit any MedHelp clinic for any service, you can access your patient portal. When you visit MedHelp for the first time, you’ll get an email with information about how to set up your patient portal. Portal access is only available for patients over the age of 13. Parents of patients who visit our urgent care clinics and are younger than 13 can set up family access to their child’s patient portal.
Features of MedHelp's Patient Portal
If you’ve never used MedHelp’s patient portal before, you may be surprised to learn how many things it can do. It can be overwhelming at first, so it’s important to know what features are available so that you can choose to use the features that matter to you. Remember that every patient portal is different. These features are specific to the portal used at MedHelp.
Our patient portal makes it easy for patients to have a comprehensive view of their account information. You can view PDF copies of each of your account statements, which will include a breakdown of charges, insurance coverage, and billing codes. These statements are also downloadable, or you can print them for your records.
In addition to your statements, you can also view and download receipts for all payments made to MedHelp, including copays paid at the time of your visit and additional charges that are billed later. We’ve made it easy for you to access these receipts, whether they’re needed for tax purposes, reimbursement, or your personal records.
You can also pay your bill online through your patient portal. This secure checkout system is easy-to-use, and it saves you from finding a stamp or mailing a check. However, your patient portal also includes instructions for paying by mail if that’s what you prefer.
Your full medical history at MedHelp is available through your patient portal. This history is comprehensive and includes notes from your visit, lab results, prescriptions, and care summaries for every appointment. Your patient portal allows you to download a PDF copy of your entire medical history. You can also download your history from a specific range of dates. This can be especially helpful when seeing a new provider or specialist.
But you don’t have to view your entire medical history all at once. You can also view care summaries from a particular appointment. When these are loaded into your patient portal, you’ll get an email that indicates that notes from your visit are now available. You can reference these notes to review details from your appointment, recommended treatments, or follow-up tasks.
You can also view an up-to-date list of your current medications. This list will include any medications that have been prescribed by any MedHelp provider as well as any medications that you have reported to your doctor, including over-the-counter medications or prescriptions from other providers.
Your medication list can be a helpful resource. You can print it for your personal use if you’re seeing a new doctor since a list of your medications can tell your current medical story. You can also use this list to request refills of medications prescribed by your MedHelp doctors.
While your test results will form part of your medical history, you can find them in a separate section of your patient portal. Through the patient portal, you’re able to see comprehensive results from any lab testing that is performed at any MedHelp clinic. (At this time, we are not able to include imaging results. Please contact your provider if you need copies of diagnostic images.)
Your lab results are organized with the most recent results first. If your results are outside of the normal range, they’ll be tagged with that information. Your provider can also add notes to each result to provide further context or action items, including treatments or follow-up testing. If you have a question about a particular lab result, you can easily message your provider from this section.
You can download individual lab results or your entire laboratory record for your personal records or to share with another doctor. For example, if you visit MedHelp for urgent care treatment of a UTI over the weekend, you can download your lab results to share with your primary care doctor at your next visit.
The patient portal is one of the easiest ways to message your provider 24 hours a day. Through the secure message feature, you can select your provider from a drop-down menu to send a message to ask questions or provide updates about an ongoing medical condition or medication change. You can also view a complete history of your messages with MedHelp providers. Please note that this feature is not for urgent needs; it can take up to 48 hours to receive a response from your provider.
Your provider can also load helpful resources and educational materials to your patient portal. For example, If your doctor wants you to try a Mediterranean diet to lower your A1C, they can load details about the diet to your portal. Additionally, your doctor can provide specific care instructions after a procedure or home treatment protocols for illnesses. This saves you from having to take home several printouts or pamphlets, and it keeps all of your materials in one easy-to-access place.
The patient portal also houses practice-wide forms such as HIPPA practices and COVID-19 protocols.
Advantages of Using Your Patient Portal
Your patient portal is a convenient resource for you to find all of your medical records in one place. But more than that, your patient portal can help you take more ownership of your health and simplify access to your healthcare providers.
Healthcare isn’t something that’s done to you: you are an active participant in your own health. But it can be difficult to remember everything your doctor has said or recommended in an office visit. Your patient portal makes it easy to reference notes about your appointment and review action items so that you can take the next steps toward better health.
Your patient portal also helps you follow your lab results over time. For example, if you have a goal of lowering your cholesterol, you can track your HDL and LDL results from your complex metabolic panel over several years. This information can give you the motivation you need to keep making progress and stay committed to your treatment plan.
Although our clinics aren’t open 24 hours a day, your patient portal is. If you’re up in the middle of the night with a question for your doctor, you can send it then while it’s fresh on your mind. Or if you’re taking a prescription early in the morning and realize that you are down to your last few doses, you can request a refill before our offices open. Messaging features are available for both urgent care and primary care patients.
At MedHelp, we want to make managing your health as easy and straightforward as possible. One way we do this is through our comprehensive Patient Portal. If you’re a current MedHelp patient and want to set up a patient portal, call the front desk of your MedHelp location. And if you need a new primary care doctor, providers at all five MedHelp clinics are accepting new patients.
While you may know us as an urgent care clinic, MedHelp clinics offer so much more. Our board certified providers offer relationship-based primary care, dermatology, gynecology, sports medicine, and wellness services at our five clinics.