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Who Are Patient Portals Really For?
The Health Care Blog

I already know my blood type, what conditions and allergies I have, and when my last appointment was. And I don’t know what to do with the millilitre-by-millilitre values from my last blood workup. It’s important information for my doctor, but it’s not material to my day-to-day health.

Nevertheless it’s front and center in my provider and insurance-company patient portals. Besides a couple of critically useful tools—like appointment scheduling—they’re little more than a window to a database full of indecipherable medical data, generic health tips, and insurance minutiae. Who are patient portals really for?