Have you Heard
Have you heard of Health Care Secure Web Portals? Probably not, since they are very new, but you soon may be hearing from your primary physician that this secure and encrypted way to communicate with your doctor’s office is now available.
Like it or not we are entering a digital world. It does not matter what your age is. For seniors, it’s a scary place, particularly so when we are constantly hearing and reading about hackers and their ability to access secure webs sites. (When it’s published in the news, both print and on TV about hackers and their ability to access secure web sites.)
There is another blog in my head on the digital way of doing things but for now, I want to focus on what hospitals are doing.
Why are healthcare providers headed in this direction?
It’s cheaper for the hospitals and the doctors who work under their umbrella to do business this way. The cost having patients communicate their routine needs and ask questions using a web portal less expensive than hiring a human to answer and direct calls and then take up the valuable time of a Doctor or a nurse. The overhead of having humans on board to answer phones is more expensive than using computers and paying an already existing Information Technology Team.
If you are not familiar with this part of the digital world, the purpose of a healthcare portal is to allow users to use the Internet to do many things in terms of communicating with their providers. ( using the Internet.) You can request medication refills; ask a medical question; see lab results; make or cancel an appointment, and can see your complete medical history. The “old” way is for a person to make a phone call and contact business that way. Have you tried calling your doctor’s office recently? Humans no longer answer your call. You have to listen to the “directory tree”, press the number you want and are put on hold again “due to high call volumes”. They even offer to have you leave your name and number and they will call you back. Imagine that! Do you want to get that call while you are shopping and try to discuss your private medical information? Probably not!
One downside (there are more)
There is at least one down side. When I signed up at my provider’s office, I was given a user name and a temporary password along with a paper that gave me the web address. That was it. No “how to” lessons; no phone number to call if I had questions. Doctor offices are so busy they just don’t have time to teach someone how to navigate with confidence. They wonder why people perhaps 60 and over don’t rush to use the technology.
My message to healthcare providers is
1) Figure out a way to help seniors see the true value of this new way of communicating with your doctor
2) provide one on one assistance on how to navigate around the site. Downloadable documents with instructions won’t work for many people.
For seniors (especially) I do recommend you find a way to use this technology. Asking yourself “is it safe and secure” is a valid question. For how I use it, I believe it is. Ask someone who knows and is using it. I may be able to help you also. You know how to contact me.