HIPAA eCommerce

Doctor Requests for HIPAA Compliant Portals

Updated  |  7 min read

Designing a HIPAA website portal that meets the needs of both patients and healthcare providers is difficult. Even more of a challenge is satisfying both of those demographics while accommodating—or prioritizing—your current business model and workflow. Even more difficult than that is satisfying those criteria while staying HIPAA compliant.

Patients and doctors are often looking for different approaches to a HIPAA portal, but it’s important to consider the tasks each will be doing when they arrive at your business website. You want them each to self-serve as much as possible, but it can’t be a one-approach-fits-all approach.

Here’s some advice for any HIPAA eCommerce healthcare provider that wants to make your portal as accommodating as possible to doctors and patients alike.

Problems with Doctor Requests

The goal of good doctor/patient portals is to make everyone’s life easier and expedite whatever process your eCommerce company presents to them. What problems are we here to solve?

Portal Preferences: As we mentioned before, patients and doctors are looking for something completely different in a portal. Patients are likely to access their information much more often, even daily. Their dashboard will be very involved and customizable to their needs.

Doctors, on the other hand, are unlikely to stay on the HIPAA portal for long. Many will approve a request for a prescription and move on, so it must be set up to accommodate their time-sensitive preferences.

Doctors Can Refuse: There’s a harsh reality that must be addressed: A doctor doesn’t have to use your site even if a patient chooses it. While most doctors will do what they need to do to help patients, they can just as easily ask the patient to send a prescription somewhere else or perform telehealth on a different platform. The easier you make the process, the more likely doctors are to use your portal.

What Good Doctor Requests Look Like

Doctors are busy people, and they might not always be amenable to signing up with “one more medical website.” That means you have to make it as easy, and enticing, as possible. This usually means touting the time savings that they can realize from interacting with your portal.

Here are some of the most common scenarios that doctors might engage with your HIPAA app or portal.

Doctor request on a medical portal.

Patient/Doctor Interaction

Good doctor/patient portals make it easy to bring the doctor into the equation. In most cases that means making your portal flexible enough to integrate popular scheduling software but also robust enough to remain HIPAA compliant.

Pharmacy Requests

Pharmacy requests need to be easy for patients and doctors alike if your healthcare HIPAA portal deals with prescription medications. Patients should be able to see how many refills they still have from a previous prescription and then send a request to a doctor if a new prescription is necessary. They should also be able to contact a pharmacist easily for consultations.

It should also be easy for doctors to approve this request, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth time they’ve used your portal. Filling in as much information as possible on forms (so that the doctor doesn’t have to) can also make doctors happier working with your portal.

Making Appointments

Seamless calendar integration with multiple scheduling software is vital to incorporating as many doctors as possible. Your portal can help customers make and manage appointments, see details about the visit, select HIPAA compliant telehealth options, and reschedule appointments.

Finding a Doctor

Some portals are designed to help customers find doctors. For instance, a company might sell an implantable medical device. Once the patient has decided they’d like an in-person consultation with a doctor, the portal can provide an interactive map and let the patient determine which doctor in the area they’d like to see. Telehealth or telechat can be scheduled with that doctor with the press of a button.

Telehealth Appointments

Customers want to get their health attended to in as few steps as possible. In addition to your primary business model, your site can reduce the steps they need to take by offering telehealth connections to doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers. This often includes video chat and text chat, both of which can be made HIPAA compliant on your website.

Medical Devices

Medical devices are increasingly interactive with portals. Bluetooth-enabled machines record data from a patient and then relay that information to the patient’s account page or dashboard on your portal. Users can then invite people—a doctor or nutritionist—to access the information as well. This “team-based” approach can extend to family members or friends that are keeping the patient accountable. A common scenario is a glucose meter shares results with the person who is preparing meals for the wearer.

What the Portal Must Provide

Design is vital to a successful eCommerce business, but there are additional security steps that must take place if you are entrusted with electronic protected health information (ePHI).

  • HIPAA Security: Protecting information is the responsibility of the covered entity it’s entrusted to. All files containing ePHI must be encrypted and safe whether in transit or at rest.
  • Logging: HIPAA law also requires extensive logging of information interaction. A log must be kept every time information is accessed, whether it’s changed or not.
  • User-Specified Access: It's important to restrict access only to necessary personnel; you don’t need any more people accessing information than absolutely necessary. Restricting access is one of the most reliable ways to ensure information isn’t compromised.

Insist on HIPAA Experts

Hipaa experts.

Choosing a developer that has experience keeping HIPAA-covered information safe is vitally important to protecting your business. As a covered entity—someone entrusted with ePHI—it is your legal responsibility to protect health information. It’s also an important step to keep your reputation in good standing with your customers and their doctors.

Clarity Ventures is dedicated to helping healthcare providers of every kind find the HIPAA-compliant eCommerce platform that perfectly fits their business. As a leader in this industry, we know how important it is to keep ePHI safe. We offer a complimentary discovery session to help you find out the level of protection you need for the type of business you are. We’ll come up with a plan that you can use with us...or take to another company, all free of charge.


Mastering HIPAA Complexity

If you’re ready to tackle your HIPAA-related problems while making your portals and sites as user-friendly as possible, let’s get started.

Hipaa workshop.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.