One of the most integral components of a practice is its level of patient engagement. Patient engagement ensures that patients are taking ownership of their personal health as well as openly communicating with their healthcare providers. Physicians know that a higher level of patient engagement equals a higher level of success for a practice in terms of more follow-up appointments scheduled, more diagnostic tests scheduled, and less no-shows for appointments. Likewise, patients with a higher level of engagement also tend to have higher satisfaction with their provider.
Many practices strive for high levels of patient engagement, and one of the best tools to encourage patient engagement is a patient portal. Patient portals offer unique features that allow your patients to easily access their health information at the touch of a finger. Likewise, many patient portals are now offered through an app, making access even easier for busy patients. If your practice doesn’t have a patient portal, or you have one but haven’t put it to full use, below are a few ways that you can utilize the patient portal to get patients engaged today.
1) Increase Patient Communication with Secure eMessages
A patient portal is the perfect tool for today’s busy patient (and provider!) to communicate. Patients can simply log in from home, work or wherever they are to directly send their physician a message regarding treatment, a health concern, question or so on. This is much simpler than the prior days when a patient had to call the doctor’s office, talk to a receptionist, wait for the receptionist to talk to the doctor regarding their message, and then wait for either the doctor or staff member to call back with information. Patient portals are a huge time saver for both patients and their providers who are crunched for time in their everyday lives.
Likewise, the ability to easily send an message to your provider eliminates the time a patient with a health concern will have any worry and/or anxiety on their mind. The simplicity of getting any answers or recommended next steps faster, via a patient portal’s messaging feature, also builds trust between provider and patient. Plus, this increased flow of communication helps providers to see the full picture of a patient’s health instead of what the patient only remembers or chooses to tell at the time of their in-person appointment.
2) Provide 24/7 Billing & Payment Access through a Patient Portal
Too often in health care patients are late on medical bills due to sheer forgetfulness. Late payments have a large impact on a practice’s revenue, so the longer your practice has a disparity on collections the longer (and harder) it is to ensure your overhead is paid off. Patient portals can help to eliminate late payments by reminding the patient that their bill is due as well as making the payment process incredibly easy for them.
Patients can log into their patient portal to see their final bill, the due date, any applicable insurance coverage as well as (in most portals) pay their bill that day (or set up a future payment date). This function not only saves your billing department time but literally increases your revenue, as collections can come in faster than before.
3) Give Patients Real Time Test and/or Lab Results
Another way that patient portals help to increase patient engagement is by having test and/or lab results ready for patient review via the portal. Instead of the patient waiting for a call regarding their results, patients can now get either an email or push notification that lab results are ready to view. From there they can login, review their results, see any provider comments that were included with the results and send a message asking questions on their results if they choose to. This again saves the patient time in waiting to hear back from their provider and removes a lot of the anxiety surrounding ‘wait time’ to hear the results of a recent lab test.
4) Easily Schedule & Remind Patients of Upcoming Appointments
Most patient portals also offer the ability to send patient reminders of upcoming appointments or wellness tests. This handy feature decreases the number of no-shows in your practice, ensuring that patients are actually following through with appointments and thus staying engaged with their care. With this feature, patients not only get reminders of appointments but also have an access point to schedule them if needed. The patient portal makes scheduling appointments a very simple process that only takes a few seconds from any compatible device.
A patient portal is a great way to both save your practice time as well as get your patients engaged in their health and wellness. Utilize this tool, and you will start seeing patients who are more satisfied and interested in their care. If you have questions about patient portals, contact our team at iSalus. We’re happy to show you how to integrate a patient portal into your practice, so that you can provide your patients with complete care.