Re-engage with patients who don't sign up for patient portals

Patient Portal
Photo credit: Getty/Pixtum

Your practice’s patient portal: It’s the easiest place for patients to access their lab results, get prescription refills, send a message to their doctor or schedule an appointment. Yet not all patients are sold on the idea. One physician's advice: Re-engage with patients and sell them on the benefits of signing up.

Some patients just want to get a phone call or a letter in the mail about their lab results, writes Fred Pelzman, M.D., a New York-based internal medicine physician, in MedPage Today. But for all of the other patients who aren’t signed up for your patient portal, you should ask why.

Pelzman segments patients at his practice who are “ripe” for re-engagement about the patient portal. These include patients who:

Weren't asked to join. These patients are likely the largest group who have never been told about the patient portal. There is a great opportunity to sell them on the benefits of online appointment scheduling, and refill and referral requests.

Never signed up. These patients were initially interested and a staff member set them up with a temporary password, but they never followed through by registering.

Thirty percent of his practice’s patients are signed up for the patient portal, writes Pelzman, who dismisses the notion that older patients won’t embrace the patient portal experience. In fact, his oldest patient who requests refills and sends her blood pressure readings via the patient portal is a 98-year-old woman.

"Time and time again, we think that we know who's going to accept signing up for the portal, who we think is tech-savvy, who has an email account or uses a smartphone, but time after time we are surprised," he writes.