2016 Convention Q and A: Patient Portals and Creating a Healthy Population

“Give a man a fish,” goes the old saying, “and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” On Wednesday, October 19, at AHIMA’s Annual Convention, in Rooms 301-303 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the session “Patient Engagement: Teaching Patients to Fish,” presented by Michelle Basco, RHIA, training consultant on the organizational learning and development team at Children’s Health System of Texas in Dallas, TX, will explore how to engage your organization’s patients and families in their health through your patient portal, as well as the unique way Children’s Health System of Texas has approached patient engagement.

In an e-mail Q&A, Basco discussed why she is interested in patient portals, what attendees can expect to learn at her session, and a little of what she’s looking forward to during her visit to Baltimore, MD.


bascoWhat is your interest in patient portals?

Patient portals have the potential to create an empowered patient population and portals provide a simple modality for people to become involved in their healthcare. It’s much more than access to health information; it’s about allowing people to take an active role in their care.


Do you think there is a gap to be closed in terms of how patients see patient portals, versus how healthcare organizations see them?

I do think there is a gap that needs to be bridged between the patient’s view and healthcare’s view. I believe that’s part of the difficulty of increasing patient engagement. Once this gap is closed, we can work together towards the ultimate goal.

Dependent upon which lens we’re using, patient or healthcare organization, benefits may differ. However, the ultimate benefit of a healthier and engaged patient population exists when we look at the bigger picture. We need to understand that a patient portal is another tool for our toolbox in terms of creating a sustainable, healthy population. When we use it properly to benefit us, we can really improve health outcomes, decrease repeat labs tests or radiology, better track and monitor diseases, and make healthcare more efficient.


Who should attend your presentation at Convention?

I believe anyone who wants to increase patient engagement at their facility should attend my presentation at Convention, because the Children’s Health System of Texas approach to increasing patient engagement is unlike what I have experienced as a patient in other healthcare facilities.


What is one thing attendees should expect to know or be prepared to do after your session?

Throughout my presentation, I would like attendees to be reflective and truly looking at their own facility, and begin to understand who their specific patient population is. From there, I hope they take what they understand about the people that they serve, and help them by encouraging the use of a patient portal. I hope attendees feel motivated after this session to share the benefits of patient portals with their team members, their organization, and all patients who walk through their doors.


Last question: Have you been to Baltimore before? Anything you’re especially looking forward to?

I have not been to Baltimore before. Being from Texas, I don’t have too many chances to see the ocean. I’m excited to see the inner harbor and try some fresh seafood!

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