Patient Portal: If You Build It, Patients Will Come

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Online patient portals are all the buzz these days — and for good reason. They can provide a variety of benefits and services to your staff and your patients, in a digital format that’s familiar to more and more patient demographics. And what’s even better, patients are interested in using online patient portals:

  • According to a study conducted by Xerox, both Millennials and Baby Boomers are all very open to using online healthcare portals to provide and receive medical information.
  • A survey of 1,000 U.S.-based patients shows that providing access to medical images in the online patient portal can drive use, satisfaction and likelihood to recommend to family and friends.
  • A 2014 study conducted by Industry View found that the top three most requested portal features are the ability to schedule appointments, view test/lab results and view bills/make payments.

Benefits of Patient Portals

Need to convince your C-suite into a letting you build a patient portal? Here are some of the benefits to tout:

Communicate more effectively: Both doctors and patients can see all history and information at a single glance, allowing them to quickly spot trends and pinpoint problems.

Reduce phone call volume: Patients can book appointments on the portal, freeing up office staff to attend to patients who are in the office for their appointments.

Request prescription refills: The ability to refill prescriptions online can also reduce in-office patient wait time since prescriptions can be refilled outside of the office visit.

Share records with specialists: Portals provide the physician with the ability to securely and easily share complete or selected medical records with a specialist who needs to collaborate in the patient’s care.

Attracting Users to Your Portal

At the same time, simply establishing a patient portal at your facility isn’t enough to drive real, sustainable engagement of your patients and providers.

Ensure that you’ve developed (and received buy-in) on a plan of spreading the word about your portal to patients, physicians, nurses and staff members. A widespread marketing campaign can help everyone understand the benefits of the portal.

In addition, speak with the representative from your portal software provider for tips on the best ways that various members of your staff can most effectively and appropriately share information about the features and benefits of your portal. You’ll want to make sure you spread the gospel of your online portal to patients of all ages and demographics.

Looking for more patient portal tips? Check out this example from IU Health.