There are a number of electronic healthcare tools that can help improve your practice. New technology is updating and streamlining how patients receive care. In particular, pairing your patient engagement software with a supplemental online database — such as a patient portal — helps optimize the client-facing experience while allowing your office to function at its peak.
The best online portals provide patients with 24-hour access to all their personal medical information via a secure login. When this type of cloud-based technology joins forces with DoctorConnect, each piece works together to improve results for you and your patients — ultimately giving your practice an edge over competing providers.
What a Patient Portal Provides
A secure online database gives patients 24-hour access to their own personal health information from any location with an internet connection. Once logged in using their own secure username and password, patients are typically able to view or manage the following critical stats via the average portal:
- Lab results
- Immunization information
- Allergy information
- Recent doctor visits
- Patient discharge summaries
Some patient portal options may also enable your patients to:
- Leverage educational materials
- Download and complete forms
- Complete payments
- Check benefits and coverage
- Update contact information
- Schedule non-urgent appointments
- Request prescription refills
- Securely exchange detailed emails with their healthcare team(s)
By reviewing the services many of these programs provide, you can observe how they help you go the extra mile to streamline communication and empower patients to take ownership of their health. Most importantly, the easy flow of information can improve patient outcomes.
Let’s take a look at a real-life case study to help demonstrate the above advantages:
Primary Health Medical Group (PHMG) began implementing a patient portal in 2007 in effort to improve the quality of care and coordination between its various clinic locations to great success. The organization reported a smoother-than-expected transition to the EHR system.
As patients onboarded to the new system, they responded especially well to the ease of communication; the intuitive and user-friendly interface; and the ability to communicate securely.
Many of the staff’s points of concern turned out to be strengths of using an online patient portal. Staff worried that the volume of emails would grow too large to manage. However, the emails were easily manageable and even more efficient than phone calls regarding test results and other health updates.
Results of Implementation
In the same case study, PHMG documented the patient portal experience (as reported by both healthcare providers and patients).
Patients appreciated the option to communicate directly with their providers; liked being able to ask questions between visits to their provider; and the convenience of requesting both medication and referrals online. Some patients even stated they that left other providers in exchange for PHMG due to the portal’s efficiency.
Providers reported the following highlights:
- Most patients used the secure messaging appropriately by asking clear and concise questions. Contrary to what they expected, email volume encountered was not overwhelming.
- It took less time for staff to respond to emails than to process and route incoming phone calls.
- Staff also appreciated the added layer of efficient patient communication. They reported a significant reduction in playing “phone tag” with patients, limiting miscommunications and delays.
An online patient portal also offers several secondary advantages once in use. As another example, a family practice physician out of Great Falls, Montana, found that the use of the portal for communication, documentation, and easy access to information “transformed” face-to-face visits with patients. For instance, if you have a patient with high blood sugar who has been coming to your clinic for a decent amount of time, you can quickly reference the portal to determine whether this is an abnormal spike or part of a steady pattern. Then, if it is a new spike, you can ask follow-up questions (for example: has the patient implemented any dietary changes? What type of dietary habits did they follow in the past when their blood sugar was lower?).
Curious patients, having the same information, can approach their providers with educated questions about their health based upon the measured results of their health exams over years past. Overall, this can immensely help reduce the guesswork for patients caring for their own health, as they will be on the same page with their provider looking at accurate detailed information that can be acted upon for measured results.
Learn more about how your online patient portal can work in tandem with DoctorConnect to create the best possible patient-provider relationship.