Mercy Health System in Portland, Maine, has been working to make its patient portal as user-friendly as possible, along with new features, as the organization prepares for a Stage 2 meaningful use reporting period in October.

Giving real value to patients through the portal is necessary to meet the Stage 2 threshold of getting more than 5 percent of patients to access online their health information. Christopher Hall, M.D., CMIO at Mercy--part of Eastern Maine Healthcare System--used the portal himself recently to make appointment requests for his children, and was impressed. He made the requests in the evening and got appointments for the next morning. “The portal defeats a phone call because you can get right in,” he says. “It is faster than a call as you won’t get put in a queue.”

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