Are you utilizing a patient portal at your practice currently? A poll done by MGMA in 2018 reported that portal use by practice had reached 90%, so, it is safe to say that you very well might be. Though most practices adopted patient portals, are they using them to their full potential? Let’s dive into this question, but first, we should discuss what a patient portal is designed for.
What is a patient portal?
To put it in layman’s terms, a patient portal is an online website where patients can access their EHR data. This alleviates tasks that your front desk staff may have to perform including calling about lab results, physician notes, immunizations and more. Through a patient portal, patients can look at their health histories, discharge summaries, and other chart information that may have changed since their last visit. (Please note, that not every patient portal has the same capability. It is important for you to check with your vendor regarding what is available to you before purchase.)
With some patient portals, the patient has the capability to securely direct message their physician, schedule appointments online, make payments, and more. This is a great way to engage with patients, boost compliance of care plans, and ensure that your practice receives payment.
How do patient portals increase engagement?
Patient & Provider Relationship
Are you implementing a patient portal that has the secure direct messaging functionality? If so, you can expect to see an increase in patient engagement. When a patient has a question regarding a medication, they can quickly submit it through their portal login. This alleviates calls filtered to your front office staff. A provider then communicates with the patient regarding their questions or concerns which leads better care plan and compliance.
A patient is more likely to trust a provider that acts engaged in their treatment and dedicated to helping improve their health. A patient portal helps facilitate this relationship without needing to call in or leave voicemails.
Availability of Health Documents
A patient that has access to their health records is 57% more likely to be proactive in their own person healthcare. Patients with access to their healthcare documents are able to look at problem areas and take action. They can also access documents that are necessary for follow up with other members of their care team whenever it is needed from their own device.
Through a patient portal, you can attach any notes, lab work, or prescription information for that patient. Patients that have tools that are specifically geared towards them are more likely to engage. They then make better health decisions. This provides more clarity for patients after they have left your office on what is expected of them moving forward.
Did you know that 43% of patients schedule online appointments after the practice has closed for the day? This is likely due to the regular hustle of life. With that being said, this shows why having online appointment scheduling is a great option for your practice. As stated earlier, some patient portal vendors will offer this capability. It may be a great way to encourage your patients to engage with your practice online.
Enabling online payments through your patient portal is another great way to promote patient engagement. Patients who have the ability to pay at their leisure or whenever they get paid without having to call anyone are more likely to actually pay their bills.
There are many ways to engage your patients, and sometimes that comes down to implementing the right tools for the job. A patient portal is a twofold solution – it enables providers to meet MIPS quality measures and get a pulse on their patient base.