This page contains resources created by the Ministry, PHOs and other organisations to assist GPs introducing a patient portal.
On this page:
- Patient portal videos
- Implementation guides
- Privacy impact assessment
- Top tips for implementing a patient portal
- Financial modelling and impact on general practice costs
Patient portal videos
eHealth Ambassador Dr Richard Medlicott and his patients talk about their experiences of implementing and using a patient portal.
[Dr Richard Medlicott]
I’m Richard Medlicott, I’m a GP here at Island bay Medical centre. We’re quite a large practice. We’ve got about 11,000 patients here on the South Coast of Wellington, so it’s a pretty bust practice really.
ManageMyHealth is a web-based patient portal. Think of it as internet banking for your health.
Manage my health is a great way of patients managing their own healthcare online with up-to-date information and the ability to message their doctor or nurse.
My name’s Frank Myer. I’m 72. I’ve been a patient of Island Bay Medical Center for twenty or thirty years. Richard Medlicott is my doctor and he introduced me to ManageMyHealth about 5 or 6 years ago. He explained how get onto it. You had to do an initial login.
I regularly have blood tests, and he posts the results on ManageMyHealth, and I get an email to say there a new message and bingo, there it is. It’s a brilliant platform. It’s more than just blood tests results. It has a record of medical events, so if I’m filling in any forms or applications for travel insurance, for example, I can look back and say “I had a heart attack fifteen years ago, I had a cardiac arrest 3 years ago”. It details my medical history. I can look back and see that oh, I went for a doctor’s appointment 5 weeks ago, therefore it must be about time I go again.
[Dr Richard Medlicott]
So Frank is a patient who’s got a few health issues, and our main use of ManageMyHealth is being around managing his medications with results going back fairly frequently.
Frank appreciates having up-to date information. He’s interested in his results. We have a good discussion when we see each other face-to-face, and it saves me a lot of time in terms of having to phone results and so on. And it saves the nurses time as well.
I’m Jo Mcdonald. I live in Melrose with my husband Vito and my 4 and-a-half year-old daughter Sophia. She goes to crèche in Miramar and I work thirty hours a week in the city.
ManageMyHealth is a way for me to communicate directly with my doctor. It could be just as simple as a repeat prescription on some sort of cream or ointment that we’ve had for Sophia, um so I can simply click through to repeats and do that through ManageMyHealth.
I’ll book all of my GP appointments through ManageMyHealth. Again it’s just so easy.
[Dr Richard Medlicott]
I’ve been Joes’ doctor for for about 3 years or so, and I introduced her to ManageMyHealth fairly early on in our relationship, and we’ve used a reasonable amount since then messages going back and forth around aspects of healthcare which I think she’s really appreciated. And it’s been useful in terms of communication with a busy working mother or a busy doctor.
I can tap into it at 4 o’clock in the morning if I feel so inclined.
The ManageMyHealth website is so simple to use. I enter my password and bingo, there it is.
It even reduces the number of times that you have to see your GP.
[Dr Richard Medlicott]
I’d strongly recommend ManageMyHealth to patients and practices. Having a Patient Portal for information is really important for healthcare.
• The benefits of Health care Online
• View your medical records
• Request repeat prescriptions
• Book appointments
• View your latest test results
• Send secure messages to your doctor
• Receive appointment and recall reminders
• Update your personal details.
To start using Health Care Online contact your doctor.
Patient Portal videos are also available on the Compass Health YouTube Channel.
- The Ministry and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners have produced a joint guide Patient portals - Practical guidelines for implementation to assist general practices with introducing a patient portal. It covers the benefits and challenges involved in introducing a patient portal. It also discusses subjects such as privacy and security, key clinical decisions, common issues and how to promote a portal to patients.
- Compass Health has developed a guide specifically for practices using a ManageMyHealth patient portal
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.
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.
Financial modelling and impact on general practice costs
Model on the impact on general practice costs
Sapere Research Group was commissioned to model the impact of patient portal implementation on general practice costs and revenues. The aim of this modelling is to help practices better understand the financial and workload impact of implementing a patient portal.
The three documents outlining this work are:
- Resource impacts of ePortals for general practice (Word, 536 KB)
- Resource impacts of ePortals for general practice (PDF, 700 KB)
- Resource impacts of ePortals for general practices - Summary (Word, 536 KB)
- Resource impacts of ePortals for general practices - Summary (PDF, 382 KB)
- A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of five potential financial scenarios (Word, 109 KB)
- A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of five potential financial scenarios (PDF, 421 KB)
GPs can enter their practice's details to calculate the advantages and disadvantages of five financial models:
- no patient charge with substitution
- no patient charge without substitution
- no patient charge with clinical query increase
- annual subscription fee
- online transaction fee only.
Financial modelling tool
View the financial modelling tool on the Sapere Research Group website.
This financial modelling tool allows GPs to examine the financial impact of offering a patient portal.
General practices can enter their practice details into the financial modelling tool to establish:
- a detailed reflection of patient population size and demographics within the practice
- the level of annual subscription fee
- the level of transactional fee
- the substitution rate
- the rate of portal uptake
- the rate of clinical queries per patient.
The tool is based on financial modelling work carried out by Sapere Research Group, an independent research organisation: