More patients than ever before are interested in having ready access to their medical records – one survey lists 92% of respondents indicating that it’s important.. And that means that the rates of patients using patient portals are climbing. While about 40% of patients use portals when available, the good news is that the patients using portals have steadily increased their use of portals to share health information since 2017.
When patients use portals, they’re more engaged in their treatment and are shown to have shorter hospital stays and better outcomes. Portals are a vital tool because they provide a convenient and secure way for patients to access their health information. They can see payment information, schedule appointments, and communicate directly with their providers.
While practices know the benefits of portals, many patients still aren’t using them. This can mean missed opportunities for better health outcomes. For medical practices, it’s important to develop actionable steps to encourage patients to take advantage of the access practice portals provide.
Powerful Tips to Increase Patient Portal Usage
Here are some strategies your practice can adopt to improve patient portal usage.
Encourage Patient Enrollment
People are reticent to change routines that work. It’s important for providers to explain the portal and the benefits available to patients when they use it. Many patients don’t realize how convenient and easy a portal can be. Providers should encourage enrollment and help patients understand the benefits for their health and convenience.
Advertise or Promote Your Portal
Promoting your portal can help get the word out, so patients know that it’s available. It’s also a great idea to focus on some of the benefits, such as convenient scheduling and access to your most recent tests and medical records.
Strive for Continuous Improvement
Implementing a patient portal is a great first step. But you should aim to continuously improve engagement with patients, maintain contact with your portal provider to improve functionality when necessary, and make sure your patients are educated so they get the most out of the application.
Be Available to Answer Questions
No matter how user-friendly your portal is, patients will have questions about how to use features or log into the system. Make sure that you have staff available to help them with any questions.
Patient User Interface Must Be User-Friendly
Some patients will be less than enthusiastic about using a portal to begin with. It’s important that the user experience is intuitive and easy for them to understand. This means making sure that the directions are clear, and everything is labeled so that patients can maneuver screens and find the information they want without getting frustrated.
Be Mobile Friendly
A large percentage of your patients will be accessing portals from their mobile device so it’s important that your portal is equipped to be used via computer or handheld devices.
Make Patient Portal Enrollment Part of Your Initial Care Procedures
By making this part of your regular procedures, your staff can encourage enrollment and answer any questions to help patients get comfortable with the application.
Many practices find that offering rewards can help incentivize patients to use the portal.
Understanding Low Portal Adoption Rates
With all of the good news about the benefits of patient portals, you might wonder why the adoption rates are low. There are a few issues, but the most pressing is that many patients don’t know it’s available. In one study, 40% of patients weren’t aware there was a portal or how to access it.
A key in driving adoption is in making sure that providers, staff, and healthcare organizations are encouraging and educating patients on the use of the portal. Make the process as simple as possible so that it’s a convenient step that offers immediate benefits.
Improving Care with PrognoCIS Patient Portal
PrognoCIS Patient Portal is a user-friendly and secure options that helps your practice engage and serve patients across any device. Patients can schedule and check appointment times, request prescription refills, send and receive private messages from their physician, view their updated medical records and see lab results. The PrognoCIS Patient Portal was designed to be user-friendly, allowing patients to update histories and fill out forms in advance. They can also check balances and schedule payments and all data is HIPAA compliant and secure.