Patient portal resources

This section contains resources created by the Ministry, PHOs and other organisations to assist GPs introducing a patient portal.

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Patient portal videos

Launch of the patient portal awareness campaign in April 2015.

Video title: Patient Portal campaign launch - Prime News - April 2015

[Newsreader Eric Young]

Well the Government’s on a mission to boost awareness of an online portal aimed at giving patients easy access to their health records. The software first became widely available for clinics to use around 3 years ago, but as Jacob Brown reports, only 132 practices throughout the country have so far come onboard.

[Jacob Brown]

Rachel Hokamo uses an online patient portal about once a month. Being able to access her family’s health information online has made day to day life a whole lot easier.

[Rachel]

I look at the test results immediately. I can make appointments without having to talk to someone on reception. I can get test results without having to talk to nurses, so it’s easy.

[Jacob]

The software is supposed to make things better, but so far only 132 clinics have signed up. There’s an initial set up cost of a few thousand dollars, then maintenance which one patient portal ambassador admits, could be a barrier.

[Dr Karl Cole, eHealth ambassador and GP]

There’s the cost of actually using the system, the ongoing costs of having a secure environment and the checks and the cost to change and change is expensive when we’re already stretched.

[Jacob]

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman hopes one day all Kiwis will use the portal and he’s confident enough is being done to increase awareness and to address the issue of cost.

[Minister Coleman]

Obviously when you start with new technology, you know there are barriers to overcome around cost. But that’s why we’re putting $3 million into this campaign overall, including $2.5 million for PHOs to assist practices rolling this out.

[Jacob]

Half a million dollars is being put into this awareness campaign in the hope more clinics will embrace the technology. It will target doctors, patients and practice managers through print and online advertisement. Jacob Brown, Prime News.

Patient Portal videos are also available on the Compass Health YouTube Channel:


Implementation guides


Privacy impact assessment

Before introducing a patient portal, general practices are required to complete a privacy impact assessment (PIA) to evaluate the security they have in place to manage and store patients' clinical information.

This PIA template is available for use by PHOs and practices. It has been developed by Compass Health and approved by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.


Patient Portal stories


Top tips for implementing a patient portal

Here are the top tips from our eHealth Ambassadors:

"Think about how to better engage with patients as a service first, before looking at tools. When you have a chance, ask a selection of your patients what they think are the bottlenecks to accessing your service, and if they would value a 24/7 view of their records. You could be surprised at their response." Dr Karl Cole, Auckland GP

"Be sure you know why you are making the decision and are clear on how a portal might be introduced over time. Widen the context of your decision: e.g. as a business decision to improve staff effectiveness if an increasing percentage of your patients can avoid multiple phone calls to book appointments/get results, etc. Don't be afraid to start simple – for example, appointment booking only for the first year. Introduce other steps when you have established robust workflow to ensure success, and understand better how the portal might work for you." Dr Bev Nicholls, Nelson/Marlborough GP

"US experience has found that the most effective strategy for patient adoption of the portal is if their doctor or nurse encourages them to do so." Dr Sue Wells, primary care health innovation and quality improvement researcher

"I advise GPs that we call the emails we receive from patients 'contacts', not consultations, as they are often quick, easy conversations and it is difficult to consult properly by email. I also remind GPs that when using the portal they should work to their own level of comfort, which may mean bringing patients in for a face-to-face consultation if that is more appropriate." Dr Damian Tomic, Hamilton GP

"I'd strongly recommend any practices introducing a patient portal to explore Open Notes - this is the idea of letting patients access their clinical notes. The evidence is overwhelming that letting patients read their notes improves doctor/patient relationships and compliance with medications and recommendations." Dr Andrew Miller, Whangarei GP

For ManageMyHealth users:

"We found that holding a community forum to announce the new initiatives and explain in detail the patient portal, whilst fielding questions, really helped patient buy-in to our ManageMyHealth launch." Brendon Eade, Te Aroha GP

"Once the service is activated, keep track of usage via the built-in reporting." And an observation: "Our ratio of patients accessing portal to view versus non-prescription contacts is about 8000:150 for 800 patients over a one-year period. That says a lot for patient autonomy, and many of those 8000 views could have been a phone call." Dr Richard Medlicott, Wellington GP

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