Long ago, patients often had to deal with long hold times when scheduling appointments and filling out piles of paperwork at the office. Nowadays, patients can schedule an appointment with their doctor within minutes thanks to online portals.
When integrated with electronic health records (EHRs), patient portals can become powerful tools and improve healthcare interoperability. Not only can patients quickly schedule an appointment using an online portal, but they can also message their doctors and request medication refills between visits. Over time, patients will see improved outcomes from taking advantage of all the resources that patient portals have to offer.
4 Ways That Portals Improve Patient Outcomes
Learn How Portals Can Positively Affect Healthcare Interoperability
Receiving fast and efficient care is much more attainable thanks to improvements in health IT. While implementing portals and integrating them with EHRs can feel tedious, it is important to remember all of the benefits they bring. Increased patient engagement, faster workflows, and improved outcomes are just several benefits that patient portals can bring to your medical practice.
1. They facilitate patient engagement
One of the most noticeable benefits of online portals is the increase in patient engagement that they bring. Instead of making multiple phone calls just to schedule and confirm an appointment, patients can just request one online. Patients can also request referrals, ask questions about their medications, and order refills through an online portal.
Because patients now have way more opportunities to contact their physicians, they can begin to form a closer relationship with them. This close relationship can lead to improved patient compliance, which, in turn, can reduce one’s chances of visiting the emergency room for preventable health issues. High rates of portal use are also tied to lower hospital readmission rates.
2. They streamline administrative tasks and optimize your office workflow
Many patient portals let patients fill out registration forms and other important health documents before their upcoming appointments. This frees up your staff from having to assist patients with filling out their documents when they arrive for their appointments.
Online forms are also much quicker to fill out than paper documents and can improve patient satisfaction as a result. They also eliminate extra paperwork for your staff. No longer do they have to manually schedule appointments, write down prescription refills, or send referrals to different patients. By streamlining these processes, portals help make everyone’s life easier.
3. Preventative measures can be taken through using patient portals
When patients have the opportunity to connect with their medical providers through convenient and safe means, they often become more motivated to make lifestyle changes that improve their health. Because it is so easy to contact their physicians, they are much more incentivized to reach out to them over the portal rather than calling the office and waiting for minutes on hold for a quick question.
4. Getting refills is much easier
Instead of having to call your office or a pharmacist whenever they need a refill, your patients can request one online. Patients and providers can end up saving precious time when patients can request their own refills online rather than having to call into the office to request one. Within minutes, patients simply have to log into their portals, submit a request for a refill, and then pick it up at the pharmacy when they’re ready.
Building user-friendly patients portals can create lasting physician-patient relationships that benefit your practice over time. Offering access to appointments, EHRs, and billing information can both your staff and your patients’ lives easier. It will also increase your chances of cultivating loyal relationships with patients that dissuade them from leaving for other healthcare providers.
Different Features You Should Offer in Your Patient Portals
Increase Healthcare Interoperability With These Convenient Features
As you build and tweak your patient portals over time, it is critical that you make sure you are offering updated features in an accessible format to users. Patient portals can quickly become frustrating and even useless if they are constantly plagued with glitches and errors.
To make the most of your patient portal, you should offer the following features:
- Scheduling Tool and Appointment Reminders
- Refill Request
- Personal Health Information
- Medical Bills
- Private Messaging Services
Some healthcare organizations have also invested in building mobile apps and tablet-friendly websites for patient access. It is critical that your practice remains on top of the latest trends and technology in healthcare.
Thanks to advances in technology, people are used to getting everything they want in an instant. This isn’t always possible in medicine. But as healthcare interoperability continues to improve, patients can enjoy faster and easier access to their medical providers. At Iron Bridge, we are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art IT solutions for improving healthcare interoperability. To learn more about our products and services, contact one of our team members today.