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CloudView blog

Ideas and insights to help health care providers stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health care environment.

Patient Portals: The Online Key to Better Patient Communication

by Andrew Scutro, Senior Associate, Communications

We know about the frustrating administrative tasks that practices must tackle every day. Helping ease that strain, and making sure care givers can focus on patients, is central to what we do at athenahealth.

An important aspect of taking on that work is enabling easier channels of communication, especially patient communication with providers. We do that with athenaCommunicator, our live, automated and online services that strengthen that physician-patient connection beyond the exam room. With tools like appointment reminders and operator services, we help practices improve their bottom line. But an online patient portal goes even further by empowering patients to take control of their health care via website access.

A patient portal is a secure site, branded for the practice, that enables patients to log in and manage any number of tasks, from asking a medical question to viewing a lab result.

We’re finding a growing demand for the benefits of a patient portal. And we’re not the only ones. A survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that nearly 80 percent of patients were interested in having access to their health information via their physicians.1 And Intuit Health determined that 72 percent would like an online tool to pay their bills, communicate with medical staff, make appointments and get lab results.2

The plusses for patients are clear and we’re thrilled to provide practices with a comprehensive patient portal as part of athenaCommunicator services. In general, engaged patients experience greater value and trust in their care, and are more accountable for their own well-being.

But what about the specific benefits for practices? There are plenty.

  • Online bill payment can boost self-pay collections
  • Online appointment scheduling reduces staff administrative work
  • Patient access to medical information reduces errors
  • 24/7 secure messaging increases patient loyalty, trust and satisfaction
  • Convenient access to test results, prescription refill requests and health history improve service quality to patients

At athenahealth, two of our most valued patient portal tools speak directly to the transparency of health information and the sanctity of the patient-provider relationship—both of which we strongly encourage and promote.

The first is the ability for patients to access lab and procedure results online, securely, from the comfort of their own homes. The second is the convenience that comes with being able to send a message, ask a question, or request a prescription refill, anytime, 24 hours a day.

We look forward to making the patient portal easier to use and even more aesthetically appealing. And in the coming months,  we expect our portal to offer patients online check-in, saving them time once they arrive in the office.

A patient portal should be just part of a full suite of patient communication services. To learn more, check out our whitepaper Communication That Counts: Boosting Engagement and Practice Revenue with Integrated Technologies.

1 Deloitte 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers. Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Accessed Sept. 21, 2010

 2 Intuit’s 2010 Financial Healthcare Check‐Up.

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Cloudview Blog

Ideas, insights and analysis to help physicians, medical groups and health systems stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health environment.

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Submitted by Joyce Magee - Monday, May 11, 2015

I like being able to ask a question of my doctor without having to go to his office.

Submitted by Bryan Calhoun - Friday, June 17, 2016

Can't find patient portal. Got a link from my doctor and links don't work.

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