In reading over several recaps from HIMSS16, I was completely surprised that interoperability was at the top of the “hot” topics list. Just kidding. In truth, I would have been really surprised if it hadn’t made the list, especially since day one of the conference kicked off with the announcement of an industry-wide pledge for interoperability. Besides interoperability, there was another buzz word, somewhat related to interoperability, that caught my eye: Hyperportalosis.
What is Hyperportalosis?
Hyperportalosis (pronounced Hy∙per∙por∙tal∙o∙sis). Sounds like a disease right? It’s not, but it is becoming a chronic condition as healthcare technology continues to grow. While not quite at the same HIMSS buzz-worthiness level as interoperability, I did notice a few mentions on the #HIMSS16 twitter feed as well as in a good HIMSS recap by Mary Camp. But what is hyperportalosis? The term was coined back in 2014 by Jacob Reider, the former Chief Medical Officer of the ONC, to highlight the increasing number of portals that patients need to log into. In other words, hyperportalosis is a condition in which a user, typically a patient, has too many portals. As a patient myself, I can think of at least four portals I have to log into for my healthcare data. Yet, that’s not the reason the term caught my eye.
Patients Not the Only Ones With Hyperportalosis
In truth, hyperportalosis has been on our radar for a while. I personally was introduced to the term in my very first weeks here, as we dove into dissecting the results of a NaviNet Open provider network survey for a webinar. One of the biggest findings of this survey was that 43% of provider respondents check six or more health plan provider portals for eligibility information each week. What’s even more alarming is that 6% of respondents reported that they check 20 or more a week! That’s a lot of passwords, and a lot of different workflows to remember. Providers are clearly afflicted by hyperportalosis, just like their patients.
Why so Many Provider Portals?
You may be wondering why there are so many health plan provider portals. Each health plan is different and as technology emerged to connect them with their provider networks, it became a competitive advantage for each one to have its own portal. Sounding familiar—maybe a little like how EHRs developed? Unfortunately, like EHRs, this created silos of information within each health plan’s portal and has resulted in multiple workflows for providers to get that information from each health plan.
Impact of Hyperportalosis on Health Plan Portals
With provider offices checking multiple portals regularly, health plans are likely feeling the impact through decreased portal utilization and increased use of traditional communication methods like faxes and phone calls. This may also be contributing to declining provider satisfaction rates. Many of these were also reflected in the survey results I mentioned earlier. So what can health plans do to cure hyperportalosis in their provider networks? Well, as Jeff Heyman, Director of Product Marketing, Provider Solutions, covered in a previous post, there are three things that providers want from their health plan portals:
- Workflows that work
- The Right Information at the Right Time
- Streamlined, Electronic Payer-Provider Collaboration
Seems simple, right? Who are we kidding—these aren’t easy tasks, but there are ways you can tackle them. Check out our recent webinar “How to Combat Hyperportalosis in Your Provider Network,” which will covers how addressing these three items can improve provider network satisfaction and how an efficient provider portal can reduce phone inquiries by as much as 39%.