Providers often talk about the importance of access—reading patients when and where they are. Building patient portals that borrow from social media is one way to do that. OK, maybe patient portals will never be a daily destination such as Facebook or as addictive a chat-fest as Twitter. But perhaps borrowing some of the features of those sites will make patients more engaged in their care—and make it easier to provide them with the best care.
"In the future there will be more healthcare organizations using portals as a resource for patients to see valuable health information, but also as a way to increase patient loyalty and to grow market share," says Kim Gordon, integration solutions manager at Spectrum Health. "I see patient portals in healthcare moving from being used as a competitive advantage and patient satisfaction initiative to becoming something that a consumer of healthcare services demands and expects."