Patient Portal: An Accessory to Wearables

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Wearable technology has been around for a long time, long before the Apple Watch and long before it was made cool. At its inception, it was more of a niche choice being adopted by enthusiasts and those that could afford it. Essentially, a wearable device is a bunch of sensors that can track movement of various types and a computer chip that can measure that.

Wearables started small, just a little device you could clip onto your pants to track your steps. The recommended steps a person should take are over 10,000, and this pedometer gamified that, making the information available.

Every time one went to get a check-up, they could measure their weight, and there was a log of it in their file. These checkups are hardly regular for everyone.

Along with wearables, there have also been phone apps that track steps, flights climbed, and so on. Then there are a whole different set of apps where users can feet in what they ate to get a breakdown of all the nutrients they may have got from it, or track their water intake, and so on. With portable and user-friendly health devices gaining momentum, one could monitor their Blood Pressure or even Blood Sugar levels from anywhere.

Wearables also advanced greatly to monitor heart rate, Atrial fibrillation, sleep quality, and so on. All of this data is then fed into apps that help users understand, on a basic level, all that their bodies are doing or how they have changed.

Wearables are not certified medical devices and therefore are advised not to be taken as such. However, data collected via a wearable can be greatly helpful when interpreted by a medical professional. Some apps and/or wearable devices–––namely the Apple Watch and with it the Health app on iOS–––allow sending a user’s information to a medical professional. This happens by integrating a patient portal with the Health app. Plenty of hospitals, as well as private clinics, provide such a patient portal.

While a wearable device or app is a great data collection tool, the patient portal refines that data into information.

People, even those who get a regular full body check-up, do so at certain intervals; a wearable device tracks their bodies every second they are wearing them. Considering how different each body is, having more data on hand can be significant.

Let’s dig deeper into this patient portal:

The User Side

A user has an account on the patient portal of the hospital/doctor of their choice. This gives them basic ease, like booking appointments, renewing their prescriptions, and filling out paperwork, as and when required. A patient portal that is connected to a wearable device shows each metric that the device can track–––steps, calories, sleep, oxygen, heart rate, etc.

For a user, this information is useful, they can see the ups and downs and can therefore know if their lifestyle is working for their body or not. The doctor can observe these patterns.

Let’s take an example. A user that menstruates tracts their menstruation via an app (that’s connected to a patient portal), and their wearable device monitors the temperature as well as their sleep. Over a few cycles, their app can predict their premenstrual time, and they know that the change in their sleep is affected by their oncoming menses. As these patterns change, a doctor with access to this information can help plan or prevent a pregnancy. They can also see patterns, or irregularities, of any other kind that may indicate an anomaly with the person’s reproductive organs.

The Doctor Side

A doctor’s first task whenever they are meeting a patient is to ask for symptoms. The patient may not always be accurate or straightforward with this information, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. With a patient portal fetching information from the patient’s app and/or wearable, the data is more accurate. If a patient has come because they fell while simply walking and says it’s because they had just skipped a meal that day, they might be sent home on account of dizziness or the effect of the weather, etc.

With a well-connected system in place, the doctor can see the changes in their stride length, double support time, step length, blood pressure, etc., and will be able to pinpoint the origin of a minor falling. These changes, when accumulated and unnoticed, led to the fall.

The Ideal Patient Portal

The ideal patient portal needs to be more than just a collection of information. It needs to be interactive. It fetches data from multiple sources, is secure, and streamlines information in an easy-to-understand way.

A Dynamics 365 portal for healthcare should have the following features:

  • Role-based access

The medical industry is strict about access to medical records. Only the patient and a concerned doctor must have access. The user has their credentials and can share the data with the doctor when they want to. The doctor can only see the data that is shared and not all that is tracked by the user’s device or app.

  • Security

Building on the above-mentioned need for restrictive access is overall portal security. It should be built to protect against malware, spyware, and any other kind of cyber attack. Security is the highest-rated factor in choosing and building a patient portal.

  • Knowledge base

The patient portal should have a robust knowledge base that lists down detailed, medically accurate information regarding diseases, their symptoms, medical procedures, pandemic guidelines, etc. Patients should be able to access it easily.

  • Appointment Scheduling

Users/patients should be able to schedule appointments with their doctors easily via the patient portal.

  • Prescription Renewal

Patients should be able to request a prescription renewal via the patient portal. If the doctor deems fit, they may approve or request a check-up.

  • Paperwork

On signing up, the user fills out all the necessary details, including contact details, insurance details, allergies, and so on. From then on, wherever required, this information can be pulled to fill out paperwork for them.

A wearable device may just be an accessory but connected with the right patient portal, it can become a tool. The more information a user and a doctor have about their body, the more informed their decisions can be. If you are a doctor or a medical organization, a patient portal can be infinitely helpful. Seek out a Dynamics 365 portal development company that can help you build a patient portal to streamline your organization and your medical staff and serve your patients better.

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