Make Sure Your Patient Portal is Helping Your Patients

By   |  November 24, 2014

Healthcare providers that may be reluctant to use and implement an electronic health record (EHR) system may be transferring reluctance onto their patients when it comes to accessing and using patient portals. Physicians know that the implementation and use of EHRs is inevitable, thus encouraging patients to access and use patient portals is critical in establishing a smooth transition. Patient portals create a better stream of communication between physicians and patients, and help increase healthcare literacy among patients. As a physician, what are you doing to make sure your patients are getting the most out of their patient portal?

Patients Want Access

In a study conducted by EHR review site Software Advice, 1,540 Americans were surveyed about patient portal access and use. Survey findings reported:

  • A significant portion of patients, as high as one-third of those surveyed didn't know they had access to a patient portal
  • The most popular features on patient portals are scheduling appointments, prescription information or refills and viewing test results
  • Of those surveyed, 21 percent reported wanting to be able to pay medical bills through the portal
  • The most common complications among patient portal users surveyed, was unresponsive staff and complicated interfaces

Physicians Can Ensure Their Patients are Having a Beneficial Patient Portal Experience by:

  1. Making sure patients know that they have a patient portal.
  2. Making the portal easy to access by hosting it on your own medical practice website. Many patient portals have complicated and lengthy URLs (website addresses). By hosting the patient portal on your own medical practice website, patients are more inclined to remember the link to access their EHR. For example, Dr. Johnston's website is www.drjohnston.com, it's an easy domain name for patients to remember, and a simple tab on the welcome page that says, "patient portal," will direct patients to the information they want to access.
  3. Allowing patients to schedule appointments through the patient portal, and make sure desk staff is responsive.
  4. Providing a library of patient education through the portal.
  5. Not emailing your patients through the portal. In the survey by Software Advice, they found that patient portals were primarily being used to exchange emails between staff and patients, however only 10 percent of those surveyed desired this type of communication. In fact, 22 percent of survey participants reported that automated emails were considered annoying.

Need a Website to Feature Your Patient Portal? Dr. Leonardo Can Help.

Dr. Leonardo is a website builder designed for medical practices. In three easy steps, you can have your medical practice's website live on the Web. For more information on where to start, contact us.