The Advantages and Disadvantages of Patient Portals

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Patient Portals
| by Angie Galatas

Patient portals – give people access to their personal health information. Nearly 40% of Americans use their health records through a patient portal. Many, especially Gen Zs, who are typically technology literate, love patient portals due to their efficiency. Older generations often like the collaboration of verbal communication. Whichever way you prefer, you should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of patient portals.


• 24-hour access: allows access to their medical information from anywhere, at any time

• Ease of scheduling appointments

• Ease of reading your results and aftercare summaries

• More efficient with time for quick questions to your provider

• Can pay bills, request prescription refills, and more

• Increased transparency: Patient portals provide patients with access to their medical records, test results, and other health information, increasing transparency

• Improved medication management: Patient portals can help patients manage their medications, including keeping track of refill requests and dosage schedules.


• There is not always an opt-in for both parties (some don't want to utilize a patient portal or aren't technically savvy in utilizing this option

• The communication needs to be real-time rather than on the portal, especially for sensitive or complicated issues

• Security concerns: re-use of the same password for more than one online account

• Portal literacy: Not every patient portal is the same

• Health disparities: Patient may not have access to computers or technology

• The provider may charge for messages and communication

• Limited interaction and lack of communication

• No emotional support

• No knowledge of the healthcare system

A patient portal is a tool that primarily provides access to medical information and records online. Whether you utilize a patient portal or not, consider adding a patient advocate to your team. Advocates often use patient portals to access crucial medical information and records. However, a patient portal does not provide you with a personal and comprehensive approach to navigating the healthcare system. A patient advocate can spend more time reviewing the information with the patient that the portal doesn't provide.

Patient advocates provide one-on-one support in addition to being knowledgeable of the healthcare system. We represent you, advocate for your rights, and communicate with healthcare providers. For those needing emotional support, advocates can provide the support required to help cope with the stress and anxiety of the medical conditions and treatments. In addition, we help coordinate your care so you are knowledgeable about your care to make informed decisions about their healthcare.