After gaining the role of patient advocate and care coordinator for my elderly father, I find that I'm spending a huge amount of time with home health care agencies, traveling services, and our local acute care hospital. The communication tools available from each organization directly correlate with the size of that organization, while the "personal touch" is inversely related.
If the PHR vision of the early 2000's had taken off, this would be a lot simpler, because everyone would be working from the same set of data. But alas, that is not to be at this time.
While having frequent episodes of symptomatic a-fib, I often sent rhythm strips from my Apple Watch directly to the cardiologist via the portal. I also use it to update my PCP of any care changes from specialists that I see.
I am a HUGE portal user. Would rather request Rx renewal or appointment via portal than waste time on phone and waiting for callbacks. If my PCPs office starts charging for my communication via portal, it will be #GameOver though.
I use the Patient Portal to provide ongoing updates to my PCP regarding specialists I have seen. I upload a variety of reports as I do not necessarily trust the specialists to send them - including imaging reports and preventive care reports such as annual mammogram report, colonoscopy report and pap smear report. I use the patient portal feature to explain specialist seen, decisions made and an indication of whether or not a report is uploaded. To me these are all continuity of care related items. Its my way of communicating to the PCP what has occurred and next steps. I've seen where organizations are beginning to charge for patient portal messages depending on the time spent on addressing the portal question. I rarely, if ever, send a portal message for refill or nurse question - I usually call the practice for that. I hope this information might be helpful.