The Benefits of a Patient Portal for Patients and Healthcare Providers
Patient portals are valuable tools that empower patients with their health information. Furthermore, they offer healthcare providers a number of advantages.
Patient portal technology can enhance efficiency, boost engagement, minimize the need for phone calls and other administrative tasks, and more. Ultimately, patient portal technology not only saves providers time and resources but also enhances the quality of care they provide.
Access to Medical Records
A patient portal is an online tool that gives patients access to their medical records. They have become popular in many health care settings, offering features such as physician appointment summaries, notes and lab results.
Patient portals not only offer convenience, but they can also reduce costs and enhance efficiency for healthcare providers. Especially helpful to those suffering from chronic illnesses, patient portals give them more control over their healthcare decisions.
The American Medical Association (AMA) suggests physicians and office staff make a concerted effort to explain portal use to their patients, as well as motivate them to utilize the technology. This may involve providing detailed information about the portal on the clinic website or by asking them to register for a patient account prior to their initial visit.
Studies have revealed that older patients are less likely to use a patient portal than younger ones. Therefore, when devising your patient portal strategy it's essential to factor this in as it could significantly impact how effective it is utilized within your practice.
Patients with access to a patient portal tend to be more satisfied with their overall care experience and the technology has been shown to reduce in-person visits. They also find it simpler to communicate with their provider and request medication refills.
According to a study published in Health Services Research, the patient portal can improve adherence to medications and reduce emergency department visits. Furthermore, it allows for the discovery of mistakes within an electronic medical record.
A patient portal can be an invaluable aid for all types of patients, but especially those with chronic illnesses or who have difficulty making appointments or communicating with their doctors. Not only does it speed up payment processing, get lab results quickly and request prescriptions, but it also saves time and money in other ways as well.
Despite the potential advantages of patient portals, their implementation has proven challenging for most practices. This could be due to lack of awareness, inability to access it or insufficient understanding about how best to utilize it.
Scheduling appointments online has become a top priority for patients, as research shows it can increase patient satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, it reduces phone wait times and transfers, providing easier access to same-day or next day appointment availability.
Many health systems, like UCSF Health, now utilize a patient portal to allow their patients to self-schedule appointments. This helps guarantee that patients get the care they need without having to wait in line or become frustrated by long wait times.
Patients who utilize a patient portal to schedule their appointments save time waiting in the office and spend more quality time communicating with their provider about medical needs. Furthermore, they save money since they no longer need to pay for an errand-based appointment.
Though most healthcare systems have been slow to adopt this technology, they should take advantage of its benefits for patients. Here are three ways to maximize the value of a patient portal:
First, ensure the self-scheduling feature works with your EHR's calendar. This way, any times patients request through the patient portal will automatically be copied onto your main schedule.
Avoid clashes with existing appointments by giving your staff an accurate picture of available blocks for each day. Nevertheless, it may still be necessary to contact or text patients to confirm their appointment times.
Second, if your EHR does not offer one-way sync to Google or Outlook, you will need your staff to copy all self-scheduled appointments onto the EHR's calendar. While this task may take a bit of time for front desk personnel, it will save both of you from having to contact patients to confirm appointments.
Finally, set aside a time block for self-scheduled appointments. This will give your front and back office support staff an organized view of when they can manage other aspects of the practice.
Ultimately, the success of your patient portal will depend on how users use it and whether you are fulfilling their needs. Set clear objectives to measure progress with the portal and determine if your practice has achieved its desired outcomes.
Convenient Communication with Your Provider
Patient portals enable patients to communicate securely and conveniently with their providers. These systems give patients the power to view doctor visits, obtain test results, request medication refills or discuss any medical-related matters. Furthermore, these portals give physicians a window into their patients' health which helps them make more informed decisions about their care.
Patient portals offer patients the convenience of scheduling appointments and self-managing their healthcare needs, saving office staff the trouble from answering phones or managing appointments face-to-face. This increases physician efficiency by allowing them to focus on more important tasks like treating complex cases, diagnosing illnesses, and crafting effective treatment plans.
Though some patients may be wary of patient portals, many others find them invaluable resources in their healthcare journey. A Geisinger study revealed that those with patient portals experienced better medication adherence and felt more engaged with their care overall.
Promoting patient portal use requires setting clear objectives and priorities for your practice, creating policies to determine who is responsible for sending information to patients, and making the portal user-friendly. Once implemented, education of all users - including patients - is essential in order to guarantee they are using it appropriately and effectively.
Ideal is for patients to receive instruction on using their patient portal from either their nurse or front office staff before they see a provider. This ensures the proper people are trained on communicating with patients via the portal and any queries are promptly addressed.
It is essential for patients to comprehend how to avoid common errors and the significance of privacy, particularly when handling sensitive data. Doing this increases their comfort with the patient portal and increases their likelihood of remaining loyal to a particular practice.
Despite its shortcomings, patient portals remain an integral component of any healthcare organization's IT strategy. This is because they provide numerous advantages to both patients and providers alike: better communication, increased patient involvement, improved health outcomes, and reduced administrative expenses.
Access to Test Results
Patient portals enable patients to log on at any time to check their health records, send messages to their provider and access test results. These tools save time, reduce costs and promote patient engagement.
Recently, a study has revealed that patients can become frustrated and anxious when unable to access their lab results promptly. This frustration often prompts them to conduct online searches or contact their physicians in search of more information.
Though not a common issue with all patient portals, it's essential that yours includes an easy method for patients to reach you with any queries or problems. This is particularly pertinent if they have recently switched doctors since their last visit.
One solution is to include a link to your doctor's office in your patient portal. This will make scheduling appointments and canceling visits much simpler for patients. Furthermore, you can set up reminders and e-mails so they are always informed of upcoming visits.
Some healthcare organizations have also integrated patient portals into their marketing initiatives. This may include signage in provider offices and hospital rooms, computer stations available in public areas, as well as buttons that encourage patients to utilize the portal.
Our goal is to encourage more patients to utilize the portal and give them useful information that allows them to make informed decisions about their healthcare. By providing these materials, along with patient-centric training, we hope to increase patient satisfaction while decreasing costs for healthcare organizations.
A 2014 federal rule granted patients direct access to their laboratory test reports from labs subject to HIPAA. While many are pleased with this new capability, some are worried about how the information will be communicated and understood. A study revealed that nearly two-thirds of those who accessed their results through patient portals didn't receive any explanatory interpretation or notes regarding them. As a result, many patients reached out to their doctors in order to learn more about the tests and what they meant for their health status.