As Meaningful Use continues to impact medical practitioners, a greater emphasis has been placed on implementing patient portals in order to help practices better achieve certain Meaningful Use requirements. Implementing a patient portal is key, but effectively using the portal can be challenging if not set up correctly. Here are some ways to help your practice ensure its patient portal is set up for successful patient engagement.
Use two-way communication tools that encourage patient interaction
There isn’t much value in patient portals if patients aren't interacting or engaging through them. The key is to facilitate communication between both patients and doctors, which can be accomplished through a couple ways:
- Input a Q&A between patients and doctors
- Reviewable patient medical history
- Online bill pay
- Schedule appointments via the patient portal
Promote your patient portal
Sometimes the issue in getting patients to engage within the patient portal is not because of the portal itself, but rather patients simply don’t know it’s there. Among patients who do not use online portals, 35 percent didn’t even know their provider offered one.
Everything from office posters to voicemail greetings to social media posts can push your patients in the right direction. Sometimes even a quick demonstration in the office on how to use the patient portal and what benefits it can bring them can be extremely helpful in garnering greater patient portal participation.
Don’t leave your patients in the dark about the patient portal. Tell them about it.
Customize your communications
A one size fits all approach to a patient portal isn’t effective. Different patients prefer different methods of accessing information, so don’t limit your practice to one way.
For example, smartphones are becoming increasingly popular across all age groups, but especially with Millennials. Did you know 43 percent of Millennials access healthcare portals via a mobile device?
Of course, that large number isn’t consistent among all age groups. Older patients are less inclined to access patient portals through a smartphone, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to use the portal – 56 percent of people ages 55-65 still want to access online health information.
Mobility is critical to the success of your patient portal. Whether it’s through a laptop, smartphone or another method, be sure to have a patient portal that gives your patients different ways to access it in order to get the most out of your patient portal.
See the infographic below for more information: