Hospital Patient Portal
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is there more than one portal? I have one for my doctor’s office and one for the hospital. I have to remember two separate login IDs and passwords.
A: Your doctor’s office uses different software than the hospital, so therefore has a different portal. Samaritan Medical Center’s portal is specific to a patient’s stay at the hospital or a service they received at the hospital. Because it is separate software, it needs its own username and password. Our hospital website (samaritanhealth.com) allows you to go to one site and visit separate portals, such as clinic portals, hospital portal, and several other office portals.
Q: Why do some of my results or reports not appear in the portal until several days after I was at the hospital? Some reports do not appear at all. Some results that used to be there are now gone.
A: Lab results appear in the portal six hours after they are completed. Not all lab tests are completed the same day as they are collected. Many are sent to specialized labs and can take several days to return. Pathology and transfusion reports are not included in the portal because they have special formatting. Contact your doctor to see these reports. Radiology reports appear in the portal 72 hours after they are electronically signed by a radiologist. If the radiologist does not sign the report for three days, the report will not appear until three days after they sign. This is to allow your physician time to review the results. Other transcription reports appear in the portal 36 hours after they are signed by the performing physician. These include sleep lab tests, discharge summaries, and cardiopulmonary reports. Finally, results are available on the portal up to a year after they are entered. The hospital portal was turned on in May of 2014. Any result prior to that may not appear. Once a result is old enough, it drops off the portal. Medical records can provide results prior to May 2014 or those that have been removed after a year. Your physician also may have a copy.
Q: How do I get help to reset my password or Login ID reset?
A: Contact our Medical Records department at 315-785-4099, Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you need help with one of our clinic portals, please contact our clinic administration office at 315-779-5080.
Q: What do I need to access the hospital portal? Why is it so difficult?
A: If you have been a patient at the hospital after 2014, you can call our Medical Records department to arrange a time to meet for assistance with enrollment. Once you are enrolled, you will receive an email with your temporary login credentials and the website address. You will need to use a computer with internet access. You will need a private email address, your medical record number or the last four digits of your social security number. We strongly suggest you do not use a work email address as it may not be confidential. The login IDs and passwords are a bit cumbersome, but it is an extra measure to ensure that your records are kept safe and confidential so only you can access them. Our Medical Records staff may ask you to visit their department so they can confirm your identity. We are not permitted to provide the records to anyone until we are sure we have properly identified them.
Q: Is there a way to self- enroll without coming into Medical Records?
A: Yes, we have a new self- enroll function. You will need your name, either your medical record number or the last four digits of your social security number, your date of birth and a private email address. We strongly suggest you do not use a work email address as it may not be confidential. All information you enter must match what our hospital system has on file for you. Once you enroll, you will receive an email with your login credentials.
Q: Why should I use the portal? What is the purpose of it?
A: There are many reasons to participate. Patient portals are designed to allow patients to be more involved in their own healthcare. The hospital portal allows you to: • View or print a health summary, lab results, medical reports, medication from your inpatient visit, allergies and other items. This can help you be more prepared when you speak with your physician or think of questions to ask him/her. • You may also have the opportunity to work with Medical Records to correct an error in your address, contact information or other relevant data. • You can view your outstanding bill via the portal and connect to a link to pay online. • You can recreate your summary to get current information, print it and take it to your next physician’s visit.
Q: How do I ask questions while using the portal?
A: There are many sections available on the hospital portal called “Contact Us” or “Technical Support.” These areas will allow you to send an email to key staff in Medical Records or Billing.
Q: Can I send my physician a message or email from the portal? I can from other portals but not the hospital setup.
A: A hospital portal works differently than a physician office portal. Samaritan employs doctors who work only at Samaritan and take care of you while you are an inpatient. Once you leave the hospital, your physician who is more familiar with you, should field your questions. Messages that you would send to your physician from the hospital portal may not be seen for several weeks, if ever, depending on how frequently your physician sees patients at Samaritan. Because Samaritan cannot guarantee that each message would be received in a timely manner, messages are not included in our portal. It would be more efficient for you to contact your physician directly.
Q: The Health Summary section has a button that says “Send Health Summary.” Is that the same as emailing it?
A: To use the “Send Health Summary” function, you need a special health email address also called an “eHealth Exchange” or direct address. These are special addresses used because your summary has to be encrypted before it can be sent securely to a physician. This prevents anyone from intercepting it and violating your privacy. You would need to obtain your physician’s direct health email address from his/her office. It is not the same as an email address. Using an email address will appear as if it is working, but it will not actually send or deliver the summary. As an alternative, you can print the summary and take it with you to your physician if you cannot obtain the health address.
Q: I used to be able to see my bill on the hospital portal, but now the information is gone. Where is it?
A: The portal only shows outstanding balances. Once the bill is paid, it will no longer appear. You can call our Billing Office at 315-785-5730, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with any questions.
Q: What should I do if I see my medications are not correct?
A: The medications in the hospital portal are only accurate up to your discharge. Once you leave, the hospital has no way to update the medication list if your personal physician changes them after your discharge. If you are readmitted, the information will be updated at that time and will be accurate until your discharge. Your physician can answer any questions you have about which medications you are currently taking. We also do not allow medication renewals via the portal. Your physician refill your medications after you are discharged.
Q: Why can I only view appointments, not schedule them?
A: The portal software does not allow scheduling or canceling appointments. We prefer you contact the hospital directly to avoid any issues. You are able to view appointments through the portal.