How a Patient Portal Can Benefit Your Medical PracticePosted: April 2, 2021 - By Elizabeth Velez
Technology has provided patients with easier access to their health records and more control in managing their health journey. According to a poll by the Medical Group Management Association, 90% of healthcare organizations are adopting a Patient Portal. What is a Patient Portal, and why has this new tool become indispensable for physicians, office staff, and patients?
What is a Patient Portal?
Patient Portals provide patients with convenient access to their data through a secure portal. Patients can easily manage all communications to and from their provider as well as view electronic healthcare records (EHR) including discharge summaries, immunizations, lab results, and much more. Private information can be securely accessed by the patient whenever they need it.
- Secure Messaging – physicians and patients can message each other directly and share files for more convenient communication
- Appointment Dashboard – patients can view their past and upcoming appointments and request or confirm any new appointments directly from their portal
- Patient Intake Forms – send digital forms for new patient intake, prescription refills to help expedite visits, and let patients follow the status of forms they’ve submitted
A Patient Portal provides patients with a more personalized patient experience. It offers patients a much more structured approach to managing and resolving their health concerns. This technology is significant in a time when more Americans than ever are managing the healthcare needs of multiple family members. The number of Americans who are caregivers has grown from 18% in 2015 to now 24%. Online access to a secure portal can help caregivers stay organized when managing the needs of multiple people.
Benefits of electronic medical records
Patient Portals are all about building patient loyalty by making the patient feel comfortable and valued by the provider. It’s helpful to give patients easy access to their medical history like test results. Offering health information and test results will show your patients that you are committed to both their health and ensuring good outcomes from treatment.
How do Patient Portals influence loyalty?
Patient loyalty is influenced by the patient’s experience. In the past, the patient’s in-office experience was the focal point for judging the quality of patient experience. The pandemic has largely shifted this focus to include the patient’s out-of-office experience. For a variety of reasons, including the economic struggle many Americans are facing, patients need remote access to their healthcare providers.
Patients with critical health conditions that require frequent doctor visits may be reluctant to schedule an appointment for an in-office visit during the pandemic. For these patients, access to their healthcare providers is critical, and you can satisfy some of their medical needs through your secure portal. The ability to simply request prescription refills digitally through the portal can provide the services patients need in a less costly outpatient setting.
Patient Portal Communication
Secure Messaging enhances the out-of-office patient experience. The ability for patients to communicate with their providers through a secure messaging platform makes simple needs more easily accessible. This is especially valuable to your practice in the long run. With many Americans under financial strain during the pandemic, they will build long-term trust with providers who are available to them in a less costly setting. We are already seeing that patients are less frequently accessing costly healthcare services because they were able to directly ask their doctor a question via secure messages in their Patient Portal.
One of the most significant benefits of a Patient Portal is your patients’ ability to get more involved in their health care journey. Healthcare providers are seeing patients taking better care of themselves between visits as a result of access to personal health information. Oftentimes, patients managing chronic illnesses require visits to multiple doctors which results in patients receiving care that is fragmented or repetitive. Access to a secure portal helps prevent patients from needing hospitalization due to unclear treatment.
How to promote your Patient Portal
Offering a Patient Portal feature to your patients provides clear benefits for your medical practice. However, a Patient Portal will only be effective if patients adopt it. Providers should explain to patients the benefits and simplicity of a Patient Portal upon every care encounter. A positive provider testimony is the most successful strategy to communicate the effectiveness of the feature.
Patient Portal demographics
Understanding your patient demographics will help dictate how you promote your Patient Portal. Many providers may assume that older patients will be discouraged because of the need for computer skills. This is actually not the case! Patients between the age of 60-65 have been engaged with computers in the workforce and are not discouraged by technology. Research has shown that this age group has a positive user experience making them likely to utilize your Patient Portal.
Millennials are also likely to be big adopters of the Patient Portal. In a Salesforce study, it was found that 6 out of 10 millennials support telemedicine. This shows that the trend moving forward is likely to focus on the digital experience of health care. Millennials are more inclined than Baby Boomers to research health care providers online. In order to meet your patients’ expectations, providers must strengthen their digital presence.
Patient Portals will become the standard for healthcare management in the future. Portals provide easier access to the patient’s healthcare data giving them more control and involvement in managing their healthcare. In addition to an enhanced patient experience, a Patient Portal will also help your practice better serve the needs of your patients.