The Patient Portal: Your 24-Hour Virtual Employee

Many medical practices doubt the benefits of a patient portal. They think they won’t have time to deal with the influx of notifications or doubt that patients will even use the portal. However, as patient portals become more and more common, practices are realizing that the portal actually acts like a 24-hour virtual employee, streamlining communication and reducing the burden on office staff. The patient portal will also help your practice achieve several Meaningful Use objectives.
Read on to find out what a patient portal can do for your practice.
Reduce Time Spent in the Office or on the Phone
When patients can send messages and requests for things like prescription refills, you can respond quickly (and sometimes through automation). This requires much less time than talking on the phone or in person, and is more convenient for both the patient and the practitioner (assuming the patient already uses the internet on a regular basis). Practices that use a patient portal find their phone call volume is reduced significantly.
Streamline Delivery of Test Results and Appointment Reminders
Communication of important health information can be automated, requiring little or no time from your staff. For example, you can set up for test results to be posted, along with related health recommendations and reminders.
Quickly Deliver Large Quantities of Information
Discussing health issues in detail can be very time consuming, and most practitioners have extremely limited amount of time for each patient. You can deliver PDFs or links to health information via electronic services, providing as little or much information as desired, all through the click of a button. The patient then has time to read the material, think through what he or she really needs to know, and then ask questions either in person at the next visit or through the portal.
Improve Patient Awareness of Health Issues
Patients can use the clinical summaries, health screening reports and electronic access to information to better understand their own health. By giving the patients information via the internet, they can digest the information at home, where they are comfortable and able to process information.
Keep More Accurate Records
Communication with the patient is recorded and delivered through the secure portal, ensuring you have a record of your recommendations and the patient’s responses. This increases protection for you and your staff (against lawsuits, claims of malpractice or violation of HIPAA regulations) while streamlining record keeping.
Offer Health Support Tools
You can also automate your patient portal to offer health support tools to your patients at no extra cost. For example, you may offer information about weight loss tools and techniques to patients with higher BMIs, or information about diabetes prevention and management to those who are showing signs of being pre-diabetic.
The end result? Your patients have more tools at their disposal, and you save time, since a one-time investment in software results in automatic delivery of tools and your support materials.
Provide Convenient and 24-Hour Accessibility
When a patient can request a prescription refill, initiate a future appointment or read up on a health concern at any time of day, everyone wins. Patients who may not feel comfortable taking time away from work or family responsibilities during the day to ask a personal health question can now do so in the privacy of home, at whatever time works best for the patient.
Tackle Responses in Bulk
Practitioners can respond to requests that cannot be automated during work hours, without being disturbed by middle-of-the-night phone calls or needing to return calls in between appointments. You can easily clear through a list of patient requests in the time it used to take you to look up one patient’s information and return the phone call.
Achieve Meaningful Use Objectives
A patient portal does more than save you time and labor hours; it can also help you achieve your compliance goals. If you are interested in qualifying for Meaningful Use, you can achieve the following objectives through the use of a patient portal:

Improve Medical Practice Reputation
Many patients today expect their office to have a patient portal; they’ve heard about them and will wonder why your office is not keeping up with current practices. If you don’t provide a patient portal, you may lose patients to practices that do offer these technology-forward benefits.
The Patient Portal: An Investment that Keeps Continuously Gives Back
Yes, implementing a patient portal is an investment, and it will take time to get patients to start using it. However, once you get past the initial investment, you will reap benefits that only increase over time. As more and more patients use the portal, you’ll see costs go down and patient benefits increase.
Staff and patients alike will appreciate the personalized service and convenience. Through this simple solution, your medical practice will be able to not only exchange valuable information with patients, but also enable both parties to enact on that information, improving the patient-practitioner relationship overall.
Here at MediPro Inc., we can help you select the best patient portal for your practice. We represent several brands, and we know what software best suits your medical practice. Contact us to get input on patient portal options.