Using Patient Portals


If you have ever tried to get your medical records from your provider, you know that sometimes it can be neither easy nor convenient. It’s your information. Shouldn’t you be able to access it whenever you need it?

If your provider uses an electronic health record (EHR), you can. You would know if your provider uses an EHR if he/she enters the room with a tablet or laptop and records your information on it during your office visit.

You can have 24-hour access to this information by using a patient portal. A patient portal is a secure, online website that provides access to the personal health information entered in your provider’s EHR.

No one else can see this information but you, your provider, your provider’s healthcare team, and caregivers to whom you allow access.

Benefits of patient portals:

  • Share in decision making with your provider
  • Stay active in your own health care
  • Provide caregivers your health information to help them take care of you
  • Eliminate phone calls or save trips to your doctor’s office.

Features of patient portals

Most patient portals let you securely view and print parts of your medical record, including recent doctor visits, discharge summaries, medications, immunizations, allergies, and lab results anytime and anywhere you have Web access.

Other features may include

  • exchanging secure e-mail with your healthcare team
  • requesting prescription refills
  • scheduling non-urgent appointments
  • checking your benefits and coverage
  • updating your contact information
  • downloading or completing forms

How to sign up

1. Ask your healthcare providers if they use an EHR.
2. Ask if they offer a patient portal.

They will provide you with instructions for setting it up. There may be a couple of steps involved in setting up your account, including creating a secure password. This is to make sure only you have access to your health information. Once your account is set up, you will be ready to conveniently access your health information and medical records.