One of the top selling point features of a patient portal is the electronic medical consultation, also referred to as an eConsultation, eVisit or Virtual Visit. The electronic consultation serves as means of communication between the patient and the doctor and can done via email, phone, text message and webcam video. This is one of the biggest benefits of having a portal for both the doctor and the patient alike.
The electronic medical consultation is a great incentive for a patient to sign up for their physician’s patient portal. If the patient has a question (What are my latest lab results?) or a concern (I have this rash…), they can send their doctor an email, a text or request to be given a phone call or schedule a video chat to discuss the issue. Electronic consult requests have a quick wait time and the patient will receive a response in a timely fashion, unlike making an in-person appointment. By not having to physically go to the doctor’s office, the patient will save money (and time) by not having to get into the car and waste money on gas and by not having to rearrange their schedule or take time off work.
Doctors greatly benefit from the electronic medical consultation on an EMR patient portal as well as the patient. The doctor checks their email or text messages throughout the day and responds to the patients’ requests either right away or by the end of the day. It allows doctors to attend to more patients in one day than they normally would with just in-person visits and keep them focused on issues that can only be attended to in person, like annual physicals. Inquiries that take very little time to discuss, like lab results and approving a prescription for a Z-Pack, can be contained to electronic consults. Electronic consults are also a cash pay service that can earn the practice extra revenue. Consultations can be charged a flat rate per email or text and per minute for phone calls and video chat. It is direct and straight forward payment with no co-pay or insurance involvement and billing can be done through the portal.