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Objectives: Patient Web portals (PWPs) have been gaining traction as a means to collect patient-reported outcomes and maintain quality patient care between office visits. PWPs have the potential to impact patient–provider relationships by rendering additional channels for communication outside of clinic visits and could help in the management of common chronic medical conditions. Studies documenting their effect in primary care settings are limited. This perspective aims to summarize the benefits and drawbacks of using PWPs in the management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and asthma, focusing on communication, disease management, compliance, potential barriers, and the impact on patient–provider dynamic. After a review of these topics, we present potential future directions.
Methods: We conducted an exploratory PubMed search of the literature published from inception through December 2015, and focused our subsequent searches specifically to assess benefits and drawbacks of using PWPs in the management of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and asthma.
Results: Our search revealed several potential benefits of PWP implementation in the management of chronic conditions with regards to patient–provider relationships, such as improved communication, disease management, and compliance. We also noted drawbacks such as potentially unreliable reporting, barriers to use, and increased workload.
Conclusions: PWPs offer opportunities for patients to report symptoms and outcomes in a timely manner and allow for secure online communication with providers. Despite the drawbacks noted, the overall benefits from successful PWP implementation could improve patient–provider relationships and help in the management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and asthma.
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