Practices need to ‘sell’ patients on patient portal benefits

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When 93 percent of patients want online access to their physicians, it should be a no brainer that they’ll log in to your patient portal. Not so, as too many practices discover--particularly if they haven’t taken the time to send out automated invitations, facilitate easy account set-up and promote the patient portal throughout the practice.

In their patient outreach, practices should focus on how the patient portal adds value to the patient experience, writes Kim Labow, chief executive officer of Medfusion, in a recent Physicians Practice commentary. Case in point: It’s likely a lot easier for patients to refill their medications online via your patient portal than it is to navigate your practice’s phone tree before they can talk to one of your staff members.

Posters and digital signage in your waiting and exam rooms are two great ways to promote your patient portal. And it’s worth checking in with your portal vendor to ask if they have any patient marketing materials you can use, recommends Labow.

While she cautions that practices should only expect to collect 50 to 70 percent of the money owed them by patients, Labow also advocates for making it as easy as possible for patients to pay their medical bills online. From the perspective of the physician practice, online payment is also a boon. That’s because it reduces the need for paper and cuts down on administrative costs--all while improving the patient experience.

Eighty-eight percent of executives, clinical leaders and clinicians say they’re embracing the patient portal as a pivotal part of their patient engagement strategies, as previously reported by FiercePracticeManagement.