(HealthDay News) — Patients want portals that include features such as appointment scheduling, viewing test results, and checking prescription refills, and are frustrated with unresponsive staff and poor interfaces, according to a report published by Software Advice.

Researchers surveyed a sample of 1,540 U.S. patients and collected a minimum of 385 responses to each question to examine which features of a portal are most important for patients.

According to the report, only one-third of patients currently has access to a portal, while two-thirds of patients reported that they did not have access (35%) or were unsure (33%). The most requested patient portal features included appointment scheduling (24%), viewing test/lab results (22%), viewing bills and making payments (21%), and checking prescriptions/refills (19%). Only 10% of patients expressed a desire for exchanging e-mails with staff. Unresponsive staff (34%) and poor interfaces (33%) were cited as the main sources of frustration with patient portals.

“Keeping an eye on what features patients increasingly desire will help ensure they continue to engage with your patient portal – both now and in the future,” according to the report.

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