As an amazing health care provider, of course you want the best relationship with every one of your patients. But as a solid business owner, you also want to maximize your profits and reduce your overhead. Often these goals conflict. The good news is they don’t have to. Have your cake and eat it, too. Or in this case, cultivate an excellent provider-patient relationship and streamline your practice’s processes—with the help of a patient portal.

What is a patient portal, you ask? According to Wikipedia, “patient portals are healthcare-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers.”

According to the 2010 HealthData Management article entitled “Will Patient Portals Open the Door to Better Care?,” providers report significant financial savings in addition to improved patient-provider relationships. Providers savings include:

  • $0.63 every time they don't have to mail a lab result (HealthPartners)
  • $17 every time they can handle a billing query online rather than by phone (Northshore University Health System)
  • $7 for every appointment scheduled online (Northshore University Health System)

Here, we’ll discuss a few examples of interactive technology with patient portal features. As a note, these examples are for educational purposes only; they are not WebPT reviews or endorsements as we have not tested these products.  

Sharing is Caring 

DaVita Health Portal

DaVita, a leading provider of kidney care in the US, recently launched the DaVita Health Portal, designed to help patients take control of their kidney care. With DaVita, patients can:

  • Track, print, and share lab results and nutrition reports
  • Keep contact information, vaccination records, and hospitalization reports safe and organized
  • Store, view, and print important prescription and refill information
  • View comprehensive insurance information
  • Learn more about relevant information, like travelling while on dialysis; health and lifestyle benefits of home dialysis; and financial support.

Take a DaVita Health Portal Video Tour.



ExtendMD enables patients with chronic conditions to compile and share their health information with their providers. In partnership with several major academic medical institutions, they’re converting technologies already found in patients’ homes into “real-time disease management tools,” thus reducing cost and increasing patient comfort level with the technology. And clinicians can access this information anywhere, anytime to determine whether or not the patient needs a change in treatment.

Check out the ExtendMD demo video to learn more.


Education is Empowering 


Avva is a free online tool to guide breast cancer patients through their treatment journey. Designed to help patients get the answers they need, Avva uses an algorithm based on treatment type, age, and pathology characteristics to formulate a list of relevant questions for patients to print and bring to their physicians. Thus, the patient-physician discussion is organized, focused, and designed to answer questions patients may not have known they had.

While Avva currently offers only an indirect link between patients and their providers, it’s a step in improving the patient-provider relationship by allowing patients to tap into valuable provider resources online.

For PTs who work with breast cancer patients post surgery or in the midst of radiation therapy, you can direct your patients to Avva for support and education at any point in their treatment journey.

Want to get involved as a health care provider? Avva is always looking for experts to act as resources to help them further develop their product to best meet the needs of the patients and the clinical staff.  


Of course, these are just a few of the tools available to help both patient and provider communicate and interact more freely. Know any others? Tell us in the comments.

As the mobile health revolution continues, even more technological solutions will pop up to educate and empower patients, helping them become more involved in their own health care. But that certainly does not discount the importance of traditional grass-roots approaches. Do you have any non-tech-based best practices for improving the patient-provider relationship in your clinic? We want to know!

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