Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped thousands of clinicians choose the right patient portal software so they can process bill payments and share medical records.

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RXNT

RXNT’s integrated suite of EHR, Practice Management, and Medical Billing software optimizes clinical outcomes and revenue management and includes free setup, training, and ongoing support. RXNT’s affordable pricing is predictable,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 355 recommendations

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athenaOne

athenahealth recently named 2020 Best in KLAS: Small Practice Ambulatory EMR/PM, athenaClinicals, for 10 or fewer physicians, and Ambulatory RCM Services, athenaCollector, is providing cloud-based services for electronic health re... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 243 recommendations

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Office Practicum

Office Practicum by Connexin Software was built by physicians to provide an integrated electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution. The system offers appointment scheduling, clinical documentation management, c... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

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Ambra Health

Ambra Health is a cloud-based medical imaging platform for medical practices of all sizes including hospitals, medical groups, radiology practices and contract research organizations. It offers a cloud-based PACS and VNA enabling ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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SimplePractice

SimplePractice is a cloud-based mental health solution that helps wellness professionals automate processes related to managing client relationships via scheduling, payment processing, documentation and more. Key features include ... Read more

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TheraNest

TheraNest is an HIPAA compliant web-based mental health solution used by solo practitioners, large mental health practices, and nonprofit organizations. The solution is suited for therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and soci... Read more

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IntakeQ

IntakeQ is an online forms intake platform designed to help healthcare professionals convert existing forms, manage client notes, send custom reminder messages and accept credit card payments. Key features include appointment sche... Read more

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vcita

vcita is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution for small businesses. Entrepreneurs and business owners can manage their client engagements from any device from anywhere. It enables organizations to dri... Read more

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My Clients Plus

My Clients Plus is a cloud-based medical platform. It is used by mental and behavioral health providers for medical practice management. My Clients Plus’ key features comprise therapy billing, client portal, to-do list, thera... Read more

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Caspio

Caspio is a cloud-based application development solution for organizations of all sizes. The platform is suitable for industries such as health care, media, government, education, nonprofits, consulting, churches and community ass... Read more

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Intelligent Medical Software

IMS (Intelligent Medical Software) by Meditab Software is an Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Practice Management solution that includes applications for e-prescribing, practice reporting, a patient portal, and communication to... Read more

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eRecord

CarePaths EHR is an online (ASP), integrated electronic medical record (EMR) and practice management (PM) system. It is designed for psychiatry, psychology, mental and behavioral health, and social services. Some of the CarePaths'... Read more

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ReferralMD

ReferralMD is a cloud-based fax management software designed to help the healthcare industry manage inbound and outbound faxes from a unified platform. Key features include task assignment, categorization, fax routing and notifica... Read more

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Health Cloud

Salesforce Health Cloud is a patient management platform designed to help medium to large healthcare organizations manage inquiries, track issues, deliver post-acute care processes and more. Key features include clinical data mana... Read more

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VEPRO Health Portal

VEPRO Health Portal is a DICOM compliant cloud-based medical information publishing solution that is suitable for practices of all sizes. It enables the sharing and publication of health care reports both in-house and across organ... Read more

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TouchWorks EHR

TouchWorks EHR is an ONC-ATCB certified, Meaningful Use compliant cloud-based electronic healthcare record solution from Allscripts. It’s designed to meet the requirements of midsize to large practices, multi-specialty clinics and... Read more

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DigiQure

DigiQure is a digital clinic management solution owned by IOTA Informatics Pvt. Ltd. which is based out of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. DigiQure offers clinic management and telemedicine solutions. DigiQure is hosted on Amazon W... Read more

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Bridge Patient Portal

Bridge is an enterprise patient portal and patient engagement solution for health care organizations and their patients. It is suitable for organizations seeking to replace their existing EHR system's patient portal, connect dispa... Read more

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Healthy Outcomes

InteliChart delivers the Healthy Outcomes patient-engagement platform with smart, user-friendly solutions that work in unison to engage patients, attain superior outcomes proactively, and streamline practice workflows. The platfor... Read more

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OneMD

OneMD is a patient portal solution, which helps healthcare facilities streamline processes related to check-in, waiting room management, medical forms and more. The platform is compatible with various dental practice management sy... Read more

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Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 9, 2021

What is patient portal software?

Patient portal software is a versatile solution that provides users with a secure access to medical records and services. It boosts patient engagement by facilitating tasks such as scheduling appointments, requesting prescription refills, and making online bill payments.

Here's what we'll cover:

Why is patient portal software important?

Your practice should consider buying patient portal software for a number of reasons—but perhaps the most compelling one involves the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. HITECH offers federal stimulus money to practices that invest in health IT to achieve various “meaningful use” requirements.

These requirements have been introduced in stages; the final one, stage three, has a measure calling for the “coordination of care through patient engagement.” This means providers must use technology to give patients access to health information for viewing, downloading and/or transmitting to a third party. As we’ll explain later in this guide, patient portal software can handle all these tasks, and more.

Another reason to implement patient portal software: It’s in demand among providers, so patients will come to expect it at your practice. In fact, a recent survey presented by the Digital Health Coalition found that 52 percent of prescribers (M.D.s, N.P.s, and P.A.s) offer a patient portal, while another 17 percent plan to offer one in the next 12 months.

As other studies show, patients are enthusiastic about this technology, too. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons finds that a patient portal is a preferred follow-up channel for surgery patients: In fact, 76 percent say online-only follow-up care would be sufficient, rather than in-person visits.

A different study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research concludes that patients with portal access to notes from their primary care doctor are more likely to stick to their prescribed medication regime. Clearly, patient portals should be a top priority in any health IT investment plan.

Common functionality of patient portal software

Medical records access The ability for patients to access personal medical records is key. These records include lab results, diagnoses, medications, allergies, clinical summaries and more. To encourage patients to use the software, some practices are instituting online-only lab results delivery.
Digital paperwork Instead of filling out new patient registration forms at the office, users can fill out that paperwork online. Since the data is already digitized, office staff save time scanning documents. In addition to intake forms, portals can provide satisfaction surveys and general health assessments for patients to complete before or after a visit.
Appointment setting Typically, provider schedules are shown on a calendar in the portal, and patients can select the best time slot. Depending on your system, you can enable either appointment requests or live appointment scheduling. With the former, patients request a particular slot, an office staff member confirms the appointment and the patient is notified afterward. A system with live appointment scheduling automatically updates your practice management schedule as patients pick time slots, requiring no further staff involvement.
Prescription refills Automate prescription renewal requests by letting patients ask for refills through the portal. Most systems have a dedicated module where patients can enter their information (e.g., medication, pharmacy of choice) and then submit the prescription request. The provider’s staff is notified, and can verify, approve and/or respond to the request through the portal.
Online bill pay Electronic billing statements take the collections process online. Patients can make secure payments through the patient portal using a credit card number. The system will automatically process those payments once they’re submitted.
Secure messaging Exchange messages with patients through the portal instead of over the phone. Most systems provide a secure electronic messaging platform that emails patients when their care team sends a new message. Providers can respond to messages that patients send through the portal, too.

Deployment strategies and pricing

Patient portal vendors often package the software as part of an integrated EHR suite that includes other applications; however, the patient portal functionality can also be purchased as a stand-alone or “best-of-breed” program. If you go with a stand-alone system, it’s important for you to make sure it can integrate with the EHR you’re already using.

Some stand-alone patient portal vendors already have partnerships with EHR vendors, and offer complementary integration between the two—but that’s not always the case. Experts warn integrating a third-party patient portal with your EHR may cost you more time and money than you budgeted. If you plan to do this, be sure to get an interface cost estimate from any vendors you evaluate.

With an EHR suite, users typically don’t pay extra for patient portal functionality. However, stand-alone systems have different pricing models in place, depending on whether a practice wants to pay per patient or per provider.

For example, buyers might pay a low monthly fee depending on how many patients actually use the portal during a set time period. In this model, the fee would be paid for each patient user.

Alternatively, a higher monthly pricing fee could be applied if the practice would rather pay based on the number of registered providers managing the patient portal. A “provider” is anyone providing care to patients (not counting administrative staff). Here, the fee would be paid for each provider user.

The two examples above are for a cloud-based deployment model, in which the system is hosted on external servers and accessed remotely through the Web. On-premise deployments, in which the software is hosted on the provider's own server, are also available from some patient portal vendors, coming with a one-time perpetual license fee that is significantly higher than cloud-based fees.

Market trends to understand

The following trends are common in the patient portal software market:

  • Customizations: While fees may apply for customizing your portal, you may find this is worth the extra expense, depending on your practice’s needs. Some examples of customizations include changes to registration form templates and custom home page designs.
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  • HIPAA compliance: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes a series of mandates to protect the privacy and security of electronic patient records. Most patient portal vendors will advertise that their products are HIPAA-compliant and have security standards, such as data encryption technology, for their systems.