There is a truly user-friendly experience for pet owners managing their pet's health online. The web portal login page is modern-looking and uncluttered with readable fonts and a concise dashboard. It also includes a list of questions that I “might already be thinking of” and other useful information. Test results are presented in easily understood statements with few abbreviations that are defined in the web portal.
Web portals for the medical records of people on the other hand, seems outdated and cluttered. The welcome page has a hyperlink to “Schedule appointments for your current health reminders,” which sends you to a list of preventive care reminders for procedures that are not due for several years. The welcome screen also includes “7 Tips for healthy living,” with recommendations such as “Move More” and “Floss Your Teeth.” While these are important suggestions, they do not give members truly useful information to actually improve their health. Legal and regulatory barriers certainly restrict information that can be provided in these web portals. However, the format and style of the information can be substantially improved. Another problem is that web developers are more focused on IT solutions, when they should be asking consumers what they want to see in a web portal.
People who design web portals for pet medical information or online consumer web interfaces seem to have a better understanding of their users as customers. Web portal designers should use data visualization principles to present health risk information and test results in ways that people understand. One useful resource is the Visualize Health Project , which provides graphic displays of health information that have been shown to work well for helping individuals understand their own levels of health risk. Delivery system reform cannot succeed without active engagement of patients and caregivers via online tools. Providers must improve the usability of web portals for medical records in order to enhance patient engagement so that patients can better understand their health and even improve it.
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