Patient Gateway Connects PCPs and Patients
Approximately 1,100 patients in BWH primary care practices logged on to Patient Gateway in October, and they submitted 470 requests, including more than 250 medication requests and more than 100 requests for referrals.
“All these requests are in place of phone calls,” said Jonathan Wald, MD, MPH, associate director for Clinical Informatics Research and Development at Partners HealthCare.
Patient Gateway, a secure online portal that connects patients and their primary care and specialty care practices, now boasts more than 30,000 accounts across the PHS network, including more than 8,000 accounts within BWH practices. Almost every BWH primary care practice has access to Patient Gateway, and plans are in place to extend this patient portal to BWH specialists in coming months.
“My patients love it,” said Robert Goldszer, MD, MBA, associate chief medical officer and director of Primary Care at BWH, after piloting the new lab results feature. “If we order a blood test for a patient, he or she can review the results through Patient Gateway within a few days.”
Patients with Gateway accounts, which are similar in security and usability to online banking accounts, would receive an e-mail notification that a results letter from their physician is available for online viewing. This e-mail would go to their personal e-mail account with a link to Patient Gateway, but the result notice itself is not sent via e-mail to protect privacy.
For example, a Goldszer primary care patient with a Gateway account has a cholesterol test during a routine visit on a Monday. When the results of the test are available, that patient can sign in to his or her account to see the results. Each result is linked to accompanying material—such as dietary advice—just a click away.
Patient Gateway allows patients to look at their chart information, including their medication lists, allergies, cholesterol levels and as many as 50 different lab results. Patients can request a prescription refill with just four clicks of a mouse.
Sue Schade, BWH’s chief information officer, said Patient Gateway has improved the quality of care for the patients who use it because it helps them gain a more thorough understanding of their care. “Often times, patients come away from appointments with a lot of new information to digest. Patient Gateway makes remembering, reviewing and understanding this information much easier for our patients,” she said.
Patient Gateway enables PHS practices to meet the demands of a growing segment of the public who want access to this type of service, whether they’re ordering tickets to a movie or paying bills. In addition, Patient Gateway is improving the delivery of care.
“Patient Gateway offers the patient transparency and access to electronic tools so he or she can participate directly in their own care, improving safety, quality, decision making, and communication,” Wald said. “It extends our ability to prevent errors and to deliver high performance medicine to our patients.”