I had the pleasure of speaking at the semi-annual Practice Management Institute Conference this May.
Can you guess the biggest hurdle practices in attendance were facing? Patient portal engagement. So we talked, brainstormed, and shared insight on the topic. And here are some of the top ideas that came up with to increase portal engagement:
1. Direct patients to access return to work or school slips on the portal.
This tip even works for say general or orthopedic surgeons that see many patients one time — maybe — for follow up.
2. Get tablets and train on-site.
Have a staff member walk patients through signing into the portal and sending a message to the nursing staff, letting them know why they are in the clinic today. This is a great teaching moment for patients and can be done in the waiting area or exam rooms while patients are waiting to see the provider.
3. Promote it.
Most patients would find a portal quite useful, if they knew it was there, what it was, and how it benefits them. Make sure when marketing your portal that you are letting patients know they can send and receive messages from the staff, check lab results, and request refills without waiting for call backs.
4. Get the doctors in on it.
This works in two ways. First, have doctors talk with patients about it, even if it's simply letting them know when their prescription runs out they can request a refill via the portal or to check for their lab results. You can also have the physician ask patients to check for a message from the clinic to see how they are doing after the visit.
Second, according to an article in Medical Practice Insider it is noted that patients are about 90 percent more apt to open an e-mail from the actual doctor than from the practice. Now having spent many years in practices, I know that is not likely that the physician would send every e-mail to patients. But, it is as simple as having the e-mail address reflect the name of the doctor rather than the practice.