Health care organizations can drastically reduce the amount of money they spend per patient by utilizing technological advances. As is the case with most things, one of the biggest barriers to new health care tech adoption is resistance to change. It is easy to see why. Doctors and clinicians already work with very complex interacting systems within their patients' bodies. Dealing with another complex, interlocking system feels like a heavy burden to many doctors. However, the use of technology could benefit those within medical personnel, and make it easier to empower patients. Using patient portals, electronic health records and other medical advances makes it much easier for care to be administered easily. Ultimately, saving money is a secondary concern of medical technology, which is primarily involved with improving care outcomes, but it is still an essential benefit.

How much do medical practices and small hospitals have to gain?
One of the best ways to guarantee future performance is by looking at past results. In 2014, U.S. health care organizations saved an estimated $6 billion by using health IT approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The categories of tools rated by the FDA included Web-enabled devices, digital diagnostic and tools patient portals. Using patient portals in particular enables better tracking of symptoms and markers of health among patients by allowing them to stay on top of their own well-being. Similarly, wearable fitness devices are becoming more popular with patients. A recent poll found that by 2020, 43 percent of U.S. consumers will own a wearable fitness device, which is double the current number. 

These trends could drastically reduce health costs by making it much easier for doctors and nurses to track patient health and schedule appointments on an as-needed basis. With the option to keep an eye on patients' vitals even when they're not inside a hospital or medical care center, the workflow of  tailor appointments to that person's individual needs is streamlined. Especially for those suffering from chronic conditions, health tracking can provide much-needed day-to-day medical analysis. 

How can patient portals help?
First of all, it is important to make sure that patients are engaged with their portal. Patients can do this by utilizing portable tablets a clinic is already using to look at EHRs, which can be much more effective when patients interact with the portal with the guidance of nurses in the hospital. Walking patients through a portal page while they are still within a practice is a great way to show off medical software feature. Further, this kind of online tracking can be done while a patient is in the waiting room, so it doesn't need to interfere with the doctor's workflow. Instead, a nurse or a non-clinical staff member could come by and do a demonstration of the portal for a given patient. This method increases engagement as well as user expertise in dealing with the specific portal they'll be using. 

Ultimately, the best way for a practice to simultaneously reduce costs and improve patient care is to investing technology. EHRs connected to patient portals could allow patients to gain a much more profound sense of their health information. This would enable them to deal with their conditions, both chronic and not, much more easily. Using technology to push a powerful sense of connection  between doctors and patients could increase satisfaction with hospitals and bolster the ability of  individuals to get what they need out of from medical contacts.