Patient Portals: Give Your Patients the Power to Manage Their Healthcare

Patient Portals: Give Your Patients the Power to Manage Their Healthcare

The internet allows people to research and take charge of their lives better than ever before. Want to find a great restaurant in a new town? Looking for the best lawnmower on the market? Desire to lose weight through a fitness tracker? All of this information is instantly available with just a few clicks of the keyboard.

Why should your healthcare information be any different?

Patient portals are becoming increasingly vital to the success of healthcare. Secure portals that contain medical information allow people to stay engaged with their health 24/7. Rather than waiting to make a call to the doctor’s office, patients can access information such as lab results, hospital discharge information, recent or upcoming doctor visits, immunizations, medications and more when it is convenient for them.

In a 2017 survey from CDW Healthcare, 98% of patients reported having patient portal access and 74% had enrolled in the program. Practices of all sizes can benefit from this technology. If your practice does not have a patient portal up and running, it’s time to let your patients have access to their personal information.

Patient Portal Information

As a healthcare provider, you can decide what type of information you want to include in your own patient portal. The level of detail may depend on the medical service you provide. Your portal may include such information as:

  • Appointment scheduling capability
  • Secure messaging to the doctor
  • Downloadable patient forms
  • Educational information
  • Access to update personal information
  • Prescription refill requests
  • Online payment capabilities
  • Benefits information
  • Referral information

Portals: A Piece of the Patient Experience Puzzle

Patient portals are one significant piece of the overall patient experience. By giving your patients access to their information, you are giving them the power to take charge of their health. Some patients may enter into the healthcare system with a cynical approach, thinking that the process will be time-consuming, confusing and frustrating. Adopting a well-managed and robust patient portal may turn that cynicism into optimism.

Portals Will Not Replace Workforce

Having a patient portal does not mean that you can reduce your office staff. If anything, your staff will become even more important. For example:

  • Patients that choose to communicate with their doctor via the portal will expect a timely response. This requires people-power on the side of the practice to provide the patient with prompt and useful information.
  • Patients that do not understand how to use the portal may require assistance from your front desk staff.
  • Current data must be promptly and accurately entered into the portal so your patients are accessing the most updated information.
  • Your IT department will need to make sure the portal is continually performing as expected.
  • Your IT department must ensure that the portal is completely secure and HIPAA compliant at all times.

Patient Portal Education

The “if you build it, they will come” mentality does not work with patient portals. You simply cannot expect your patients to find this tool on their own. Education is absolutely critical to your portal’s success. Inform your patients about the benefits of your portal and include easy instructions on how to access their information through these types of methods:

  • Emails
  • Printed or online newsletters
  • Fliers or postcards
  • In-office signage

Encourage your staff to discuss the patient portal with all patients that come in for appointments. Ensure that all your staff is fully trained on how to use the portal so they can help patients register and use the technology. One of the most important aspects to stress to patients is that your portal is secure.

Likewise, when you make any updates to your patient portal, be sure to let your patients know as soon as possible so you can minimize confusion.

Portal Help is Available

There are many different patient portal software solutions available. It can be confusing to sift through the different options to find the one that will meet your practice’s demands. Some practices turn to consultants to help them understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different options. However, hiring a consultant can be expensive. When you can put the power of group purchasing on your side, these types of services become far more reasonable.

Advantage Healthcare Consulting, a division of Advantage Administration, is a Management Services Organization (MSO) that has partnered with consultants, IT/EMR application companies, telemedicine specialists, medical billing and an entire range of high-quality medical services and products companies to offer our members discounted pricing. Cost savings is just one benefit of joining our MSO; one-stop access to our vast network of specialists is another.

To learn more about ways to implement a robust patient portal for your practice – and save money in the process – contact Advantage Healthcare Consulting today.