You may have been hearing about patient portals, used one, or experienced life without them for some time now as a patient. As a healthcare practice provider, your experience with patient portals is different on the other side. Patient portals were invented for the convenience and privacy of patients, healthcare providers, and businesses. Let’s take a look at what they are, how they can help your practice, and how to invest in a successful patient portal for your business.
What is a Patient Portal?
A patient portal, according to HealthIT.gov, is a secure online website that permits patients to have convenient, day or night access to their own personal health information from any device with an Internet connection. If you’ve ever traveled internationally or been without critical access when you most need it (the emergency room, for instance), you know how important health information is to patients. Patient portals can provide patients with the following information when they need it:
- Dates, outcomes, and reasons of recent doctor visits
- Discharge summaries
- Medication lists
- Immunization lists
- Lab results
In addition, many patient portals will allow your patients to:
- Securely message you when they need advice or medical information
- Request prescription refills
- Schedule non-urgent or check up appointments
- Check their own and family benefits and coverage
- Update their contact information
- Download and complete necessary forms
- View educational materials
- Make payments on their accounts
How Patient Portals Can Help Your Healthcare Practice
If you have a healthcare practice, you already know what your biggest expenses are. They can include personnel to handle appointments and medical files, expensive medical equipment, and the time you spend calling patients back with information or requests and just answering simple questions. Well -- a patient portal can drastically help with all of these situations. Patient portals can handle all of these expenditures easily and without your direct involvement.
They’re sort of like a huge, well-directed FAQ on a great website -- they save you time, money, and provide your patients with exactly the information and knowledge they’re looking for. Best of all, your patients don’t have to contact you at odd hours or wake you on emergency calls in the middle of the night -- unless something is really wrong. People work different shifts and have busy lives, why not provide them with the best tool to access information about your practice and their own healthcare through an efficient patient portal?
How to Invest in Your Patient Portal
First, do your research. Don’t go with the first web design company you come across. Insist on examples and good recommendations from the design company’s previous or existing clients. Or go with someone you trust or a colleague has used successfully. Here’s a few great questions to ask web design companies before you commit:
- Where can I view and experience a custom patient portal you designed?
- Do you have any client recommendations?
Lastly, ask the design company to walk through the patient portal as a patient to ensure that your patients will be getting the best experience possible, and one that you can stand behind as a healthcare practitioner.
Investing in a patient portal is investing in your patients, and it’s important to have their input before you select the best one for your practice. Send out a quick, ten question survey to all your current patients, asking them about what they’d like to see in the portal. Be specific, but leave space at the end for them to recommend components and suggest what they’d like to see in the patient portal.
Your final portal will combine the best of your needs and theirs without confusing features your healthcare practice doesn’t need. A healthcare marketing agency can guide you through the basics, and keep your business prosperous and productive into the New Year.
Let's chat and put the Hult Team’s inbound experience to work for you. You can reach me at either 309-673-8191 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and together, we can grow your healthcare Brand.