How patient portals create value for patients includes keeping a line of communication open, creating a level of brand loyalty…
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a brief indicating that 40% of patients accessed their health information at least once during that calendar year, exemplifying how patient portals create value for patients. Additionally, patients who were encouraged to use the portal retrieved their private health information more than those who didn’t receive such encouragement.
While patient portals aren’t perfect, they do offer health care providers some benefits. One of these benefits is promoting practice expansion. This is accomplished through increased patient engagement and empowerment while also streamlining workplace processes. Read on for more info on how patient portals create value for patients.
How patient portals create value for patients and increase engagement
It can be difficult to provide effective care if a patient is not actively engaged in their health care protocol. They may miss appointments because they don’t see the value of the treatment session. Or they might not follow through with outside-the-office recommendations, reducing the quality of their outcome because they’re undoing the positive effects of the treatments. Higher levels of patient engagement can avoid both issues.
Engaged patients show up for their appointments, creating a consistently full caseload for practitioners. These patients are also more inclined to follow recommendations between sessions, improving their treatment results. This can help draw in more patients who want to experience the same.
Studies have found that the use of IT platforms improves patient engagement, also improving health outcomes. One review of 170 articles reported that 88.8% found that these platforms had a positive effect on patient behavior.
If a patient doesn’t feel that they have the ability to change their health outcome, they may not even try. This highlights the importance of patient empowerment. Yet, an overarching theme in the research indicates that this issue is a bit complex because there isn’t a universal agreement of what patient empowerment is. Case in point: in a review of 29 articles, 17 different definitions of empowerment emerged.
One analysis suggests that patient empowerment expands beyond patient participation or patient-centered services. Others define patient empowerment through a comparison with other health care approaches, such as an article that recommends this approach over an authoritative approach.
Regardless of how patient empowerment is defined, the research seems to agree that this general action can help improve treatment outcomes. Offering patients access to their health information can assist with this process. It also provides online access to their health care team if they have questions about their specific case. How patient portals create value for patients includes keeping this line of communication open, creating a level of brand loyalty that lasts for years to come.
An efficient, expanding practice
The use of patient portals provides administrative benefits as well. If patients can ask questions via a portal, this reduces the number of phone calls your practice gets. It also provides your staff the opportunity to answer these queries at a time that is convenient for them, and without interrupting their other work.
In some cases, access to a portal may negate the need for a phone call at all because the patient is able to go into their medical records and find the information they need. They can use this data to make important health decisions, as well as being able to provide this information to other members of their healthcare team to either prevent the need for duplicate testing or to provide a more in-depth picture of the patient’s health status.
Other administrative benefits of patient portals include new patient registration and self-appointment scheduling. Removing these tasks from your to-do list enables you and your staff to focus on other aspects of expanding your practice while also providing effective patient care.