January 19, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
With the introduction of Electronic Health Records(EHR) and Electronic Medical Records(EMR), the use of Patient Portals has become increasingly popular in health care organizations of all sizes and specialties. Patient portals are a great tool for empowering patients - allowing them to check up on their medical information, ask their questions, and handle some paperwork online - while reducing clinician workloads.
A Patient Portal is an online applications that lets patients interact and communicate with their healthcare providers and physicians. Specifically, patient portals give patients access to their health information to take a more active role. Patient portals are of two types: a standalone patient portal and an integrated application but they both are web-based applications. The central feature that makes any system a patient portal is the ability to expose individual patient health information securely through the Internet. Patient portals help encourage better physician-patient relationships and give patients more control over their treatment.
Patient Portals embed secure messaging to offer an alternative to face-to-face medical appointments through asynchronous, direct communication with healthcare providers. This type of interchange can be of particular benefit to patients with chronic illnesses or mobility issues, and those living in remote areas. Because of the highly-sensitive nature of the data processed through patient portal systems and regulatory compliance requirements imposed on healthcare providers (HIPAA, to start with), all patient-doctor communication must be properly secured with data encryption.
Patient Portal features like e-payments, billing queries, insurance support, payment history, and retrieval, make it easy for organizations to manage payments and provide patients with greater transparency when it comes to handling health finances. By extending these features, healthcare organizations can not only augment patient engagement and increase patient portal utilization but also monitor and manage patient collections to boost recovery rates.
Features like Digital patient registration forms ease the registration workflow by offering a simple and time-efficient way for patients to fill out their details and consents before the first appointment. By reducing patient wait time in medical facilities and promoting end-to-end secure control over the submitted data, digital forms are a simple method of encouraging patient communication. Online forms also benefit healthcare services suppliers by alleviating the front-desk burden, minimizing the likelihood of clinical errors, streamlining patient flow, and delivering a holistic view of a patient and their medical history.
A clunky and unreliable user interface is a major stumbling block that makes it impossible for many patients to make it past the sign-up screen. Even if patients feel motivated to use a self-service portal, when they crash upon a counterintuitive UI, their initial enthusiasm quickly gives way to frustration and resignation. Disappointing experience with a patient portal can discourage patients from any further attempts to use it in the future. For this reason, one of the first improvements to consider for any existing patient self-service system should be UX/UI optimization.
Patient portals can also reduce the number of unnecessary patient visits to your office, allowing you to fit in more patients who need to see you. This can help promote telemedicine, which enables patients to consult with you through a messaging system or video calls. For example, instead of scheduling an appointment to see their physician for a change in medication doses, the patient could ask you about it using the patient portal.
Using Patient Portal can offer lots of benefits for healthcare providers and patients. Enhancing patient portal solutions makes this task easier, allowing medical providers to promote proactive patient self-care and spur meaningful patient interactions. Empowering patients with a sense of authority and responsibility for their health with patient portals creates opportunities for better patient engagement, which in turn drives better treatment outcomes.
With the adoption and use of a patient portal, your practice should see higher patient engagement and fulfillment, and a more streamlined workflow that conserves time and effort for staff and physicians.