A step closer to online patient portals

May 7, 2013

The state is one step closer to giving patients access to their medical information online. The New York e-Health Collaborative has announced nine finalists in their competition to design an online patient portal.

Paul Wilder from the e-Health Collaborative says there’s a large amount of medical information that’s already digitized; the challenge is presenting it in a patient-friendly manner.

“Data presentation is going to matter a lot. The way you present the data, the stuff you throw up top, even font colors, look and feel.”

Patients can use the portals to access their own records, or share them with health care providers.

Wilder says a new design will make it easier for people on holiday, or moving between cities to transfer their records to a new physician.

The easiest way for people to grasp how patient portals work, Wilder says, is through what he calls the ‘little Jimmy scenario.’

“Little Jimmy goes to camp up in Binghamton, he lives on Long Island, and he winds up in the emergency room for some reason. How do we get his record over there? How do you make sure you’re not doing more harm than good when this patient arrives?”

“The portal really empowers the parent, the child, and any other person that’s receiving care to get their records to the right place at the right time.”

The most popular designs in the first round of voting differ greatly from the portals currently used by physicians, Wilder says. They’re more visual and easily navigated, not text heavy or full of medical jargon.

He says security is a priority, but it shouldn’t be a hassle for people. Wilder likens it to accessing your bank account online. Most people will have a secure password, but they won’t need to deal with tighter security unless they choose to.

The winner of the design contest will be announced later this month.