10 Tips for Successful Implementation of a Patient Portal

Have all your staff fully trained on how the portal works and how to get patients connected. Have all your staff fully trained on how the portal works and how to get patients connected.

To accomplish this, have your staff review the user manual and create a test patient record and corresponding patient portal account so each can see for themselves how it works. Be sure the staff is ready to answer questions both in person and while on the phone.

Create policies and procedures within your office about information you will push out to the portal and who is responsible for sending the information. Create policies and procedures within your office about information you will push out to the portal and who is responsible for sending the information.

Consider your office workflow and where using the portal might be more efficient than making phone calls. While all your patients may not be willing to use the portal, you could still save some time each week by sending secure messages instead of making phone calls. For example, use messaging to share with patients that their lab results came back normal.

Put up signs in your office promoting the new patient portal. Put up signs in your office promoting the new patient portal.

A model sign, which you can use as is or as a template to create your own,is available here.

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Hand out flyers to your patients promoting the portal and the benefits of using it. Hand out flyers to your patients promoting the portal and the benefits of using it.

A model flyer to use as is or as a template to customize,is available here.

Consider adding a computer station in a public area of your office. Consider adding a computer station in a public area of your office.

Following a patient visit, have a staff member walk the patient through the setup of their portal account and personal PIN verification. Then the staff member can show the patient how to view their clinical summary while in the office. Each patient who views their information while in the office will count towards the Meaningful Use measure of having 5% of your patients view their records.

Mention your new patient portal on your office voice mail and encourage patients to ask the staff about setting up their own portal account. Mention your new patient portal on your office voice mail and encourage patients to ask the staff about setting up their own portal account.

Be sure the staff answering the phone is prepared to answer questions the patients may have about the patient portal over the phone.

Explain to patients during the visit what information you will send to their private patient portal account. Explain to patients during the visit what information you will send to their private patient portal account.

For example; lab results and a copy of the current medications they have been prescribed along with instructions given by the physician are valuable and will encourage patients to login to the portal.

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Send messages to patients using the patient portal. Send messages to patients using the patient portal.

Meeting the meaningful use requirement of having 5% of your patients send a message to the physician may be challenging. One trick is to send a message first to your patient with a question asking them to respond. It could be as simple as a follow-up on their visit asking if they have any further questions for the doctor. Each patient who responds counts towards meeting this requirement.

Be open with patients during their visit about the options for secure messaging with the doctor and what types of messages are appropriate for secure messaging versus making a call to the office. Be open with patients during their visit about the options for secure messaging with the doctor and what types of messages are appropriate for secure messaging versus making a call to the office.

For example, questions about something discussed during the appointment, understanding lab results or medication refill requests may be appropriate for electronic messaging.

When patients come in with family members, include those family members in the discussion about your patient portal. When patients come in with family members, include those family members in the discussion about your patient portal.

The ability to stay informed about what is happening with their parent, spouse or child will make the family member an advocate for the patient portal usage.

Many providers have implemented or are considering the use of patient portals to assist in meeting meaningful use patient engagement criteria. Quest Diagnostics, which sells the Care360 suite of provider software, gives tips to physician practices for successful use of portals.

 

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