Patient Portals And Technology Are Key To Value-Based Care Success

Mar 21,2022

Read Time 4 Minutes

A patient portal, a website behind secure login, serves as a hub for a patient’s healthcare information and allows a patient to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers, typically doctors or hospitals. The idea is straightforward: the more information employees have about their health status, the more engaged and invested they are in their care. It gives employees, as healthcare consumers, the power to connect with a doctor, ask the right questions, understand costs, make important health decisions, take preventive steps, and even change habits.

Why Engagement And Data Make A Difference


The value-based care model prioritizes quality provider performance over quantity of services. Value-based care may not only help improve the health of your employees, but also help control healthcare costs – for them and your organization. For this to work well, it takes personal engagement and the right technology.


Many experts expect technology to be critical to accelerating the adoption of value-based care, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Progress is already underway through steps like:

  • Overhauling electronic health records (EHRs).
  • Empowering doctors as the experienced navigator of a patient's total health journey.
  • Refining use of data and analytics for a personalized patient experience and increased engagement.

Incorporating the patient perspective and providing user-friendly health technology is essential for a truly value-driven healthcare system, according to the Health Care Transformation Task Force. This consortium of leading healthcare payers, providers, and consumer advocacy organizations, including Elevance Health, has invested time in creating guiding principles for consumer engagement in the design of healthcare benefits.


Here's a deeper look at how two of these principles directly affect the way your employees make healthcare decisions.


Simple, Clear, And Transparent Consumer Interactions


Consumer interfaces should prioritize simplicity, clarity, and transparency. They also should have on-demand access to meaningful information that helps them understand their health and care, as well as directly supports informed decision-making.


In many respects, the power behind a people-centered technology goal has barely been tapped; interactions must continue to evolve and prioritize simplicity, clarity, and transparency to nudge patients toward high-value products and evidence-based decisions in a way that is user friendly.


Giving people two-way access to their own health data including benefit and claim information, through easy-to-use digital apps is an important step toward consumer empowerment to proactively manage personal health needs while making the most of health benefits.


This means consumers should not only be able to access data, but also add any they've generated themselves, such as their health history, provider preferences, tracked information from wearable devices, and care goals.


Recent developments in patient access requirements set guidance for more transparency. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health ITs released an information blocking deadline in 2021 that pushes for an end to the delay between doctors receiving lab and pathology results and them being published on patient portals.


Clinical And Financial Data Support Informed Consumer Decisions


Consumers want to understand the clinical and financial implications of their decisions. They want to have the data and education to make informed decisions about their healthcare, as well as assistance navigating any financial liability.


That’s part of the reason why the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) was signed into law in December 2020. Phased in from 2021 through 2024, these new rules will help regulate healthcare pricing transparency to make costs clearer to consumers.


While holistic communication remains aspirational in some ways, and systems need to be updated, with the CAA, we’re moving in the right direction.


Providers and consumers should be able to view and easily compare costs at the point of care. Embedding plan design elements into the EHR and making them accessible through patient portals can help clinicians and patients navigate payment issues just as they do other aspects of the care plan. Making benefit and claim information available by smartphone is another step toward progress.


Informed Decisions Start With Meaningful Information


Consumers should have on-demand access to critical health information that helps them understand their health and care, as well as directly supports informed decision-making.


Apps like SydneySM Health make accessing health and benefit information easier, more personalized, and more accessible. Healthcare consumers can locate care, estimate costs through transparent pricing, and identify high-quality doctors — all steps supported by the passing of the CAA. Sydney’s one-click access to key resources, doctor matching, and personalized well-being programs and action plans supports patients’ whole-person care needs.


As an employer, you can facilitate informed decision-making by offering benefit options that focus on value-based, whole-person care. This level of engagement makes your employees active participants in their own healthcare — and that has value for everyone.


Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with Carelon Digital Platforms, a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of your health plan ©2020-2022.