How to find the best EHR patient portal for your practice
Patient portals are here to stay. Today’s patients rely on technology and want their health information delivered promptly and securely. Also, modern patients want to be able to independently access their health information and communicate with their healthcare team at their convenience. Therefore, it is essential that medical practices adopt and utilize an EHR patient portal to ensure patient satisfaction, meet regulatory guidelines for health information exchange and optimize patient care.
EHR patient portals can exist as a standalone system that works with an organization’s internal EHR, or it can be a component within the EHR system itself. Goals and outcomes of the patient portal will vary between practices (from meeting meaningful use incentives, increasing patient participation in health, or increasing patient education and communication). Patient access can be as broad as a full legal health record or as limited as only select lab results or visit summaries. The type of EHR patient portal that will provide the best fit depends on the type of medical practice and the type of patient population that is treated.
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A medical practice that primarily treats older, less technologically savvy patients may have a harder time getting patients to adopt the patient portal for communication and information exchange. A medical practice that serves a rural area with poor internet access or low-income area with limited technology access may also have a harder time with patient portal utilization. However, many practices will find that a majority of their patients can access the portals.
Here are three ways to find the best EHR patient portal for a medical practice:
1. Analyze workflow for scheduling, reminders, and patient communication
Determining the importance of scheduling, communication, customer service needs and patient reminders is crucial when selecting an EHR patient portal. Many of these administrative tasks can be accomplished through a patient portal and some patient portals allow patients to schedule themselves in the system, reducing the administrative demand for the front office.
2. Analyze reporting for Meaningful Use requirements
Some requirements of Meaningful Use Stages 2 and 3 require that patients have access to their health information and can download and transmit this information. In addition, there must be sufficient communication and education between patient and practitioner. If your practice is not meeting these demands, finding an EHR patient portal that satisfies these requirements can greatly improve best practice and regulatory compliance.
3. Analyze patient satisfaction and customer service tracking
If the practice is looking to increase patient satisfaction, patient portals are an excellent way to do this. Sometimes patients can leave a medical office feeling more confused than when they entered. Patient portals can offer patient information handouts and resources online. In addition, EHR patient portals can offer a communication portal between patient and provider, giving the patient an opportunity to ask questions later. The portals can offer a feedback option to give honest feedback about their experiences and expectations.
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