Just how can you get your patients to register for your portal and actually engage with you on it?
Don’t stress! There is an effective strategy. Just follow these steps.
- Phone Responses: When the front desk staff answers the phone for patients trying to schedule an appointment, refer them to the patient portal where they will be able to make the appointments themselves. This will generate an appointment reminder. They are also encouraged to complete their history in the portal.
- Engage the entire office staff: Office managers, nurses, receptionists, and medical assistants can promote the patient portal at every patient interaction with a script to encourage use of the patient portal mentioning the benefits to them.
A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine found patient use of patient portals soared when all the office staff got involved.
3. Stress the benefits: Let patients know that they will get a summary of their office visit and lab results when they are ready. In addition, patients can ask questions which will be answered after office hours.
4. Customize the portal for patient’s needs: by including relevant and helpful tools and information for specific needs, then patients are more apt to use the site.
5. Teach your seniors to use the portal:
Elderly patients may need assistance navigating the patient portal, but then they will be your most motivated and engaged users.The same study we cited showed patients with chronic conditions were eager to engage with patient portals. Don’t write them off, assuming that there is no interest in technology. Those with chronic conditions, are interested in using your patient portal.
Dr. Alex Krist, the author of the study debunks the myth that patient portals are only for younger patients:
“It was interesting to see that a key patient driver for getting online was the patient having a chronic condition. This meant that older patients were more likely to get online. We are repeatedly told that patient portals are great – but only for younger, more tech-savvy patients. We, along with other researchers, have shown this is not true.”
Patient portals are great tools for engaging your patients, and can save you time when patients use secure messaging.
Look for the podcast about Klara, an HIPAA messaging service. It is coming up in July.
The real secret to getting your patients online and using your portal? Patient awareness. If your patients know the portal’s there, see how easy it is to use, and understand how the portal benefits them, your engagement numbers will shoot through the roof.
This year, eligible providers who don’t meet the requirements for Meaningful use, stage 2 will suffer the 1% Medicare penalty. While stage 2 has 20 core objectives, arguably the most challenging ones are: 1) 50% of your patients must be able to access their health information online in a timely manner, and 2) more than 5% of patients must actually engage providers’ patient portals. Not only do your patients need to be enrolled in your patient portal, at least 5% need to actually be using it.