04 Oct 7 Actionable Ways to Use EHR Patient Portals for Engagement
A college student, a CEO, and a retiree walk into an office at the same time. This isn’t the intro to one of those “so X walks into a bar” jokes…it’s the reality you and your staff face every day. Communication with three diverse patients like this presents plenty of challenges. Thankfully, we have advanced technology like EHR patient portals to support your eye care patient communication efforts.
Patients under your care span a wide range of age brackets. They are at different stages in their lives, with different aspirations and interests. One thing they all have in common is that they expect more from your eye care practice.
Even with older populations, the adoption of patient portals is on the rise. Five years ago, this was not the case. The familiarity of technology is causing a critical shift—and your eye care practice needs to make that shift to stay relevant.
Let’s explore some actionable ways to start using EHR patient portals to accomplish your patient engagement goals, no matter your patient’s age.
Common Challenges with EHR Patient Engagement
Before you figure out the best EHR patient engagement strategy, it’s important to understand the challenges you need to solve first. Although every eye care practice is unique, technology barriers will hinder progress with patient portals for any practice—especially when it comes down to user adoption.
In the Physicians Practice Tech Report, 72% who use patient portals identified several hurdles. Getting patients to sign up and use the patient portal system was by far the number one challenge.
The trouble extends beyond the patient using portal technology. Some practices struggle internally, with staff members and eye care practitioners opting out of using EHR patient portals in favor of manual processes they feel more comfortable with.
To increase patient and staff adoption, awareness and education are commonly overlooked by busy eye care practitioners. Do your patients know about your EHR patient portal? Start advertising. Does your staff know the patient portal inside and out? Start training them.
Patient age plays a key role in user adoption challenges as well. People over the age of 65 will naturally be more hesitant about using technology, like EHR patient portals. Over half of older adults in this survey said they were worried about sharing health information online. Security is a concern. About 40% said they hadn’t gotten around to setting up their patient portal access yet. Ease of use is a concern.
Ultimately, when it comes to EHR patient portals there are concerns for all ages. It’s up to you to alleviate those concerns by selecting patient engagement technology that is secure and easy-to-use. That way you can increase user adoption and truly focus on patient engagement initiatives.
7 Ways to Use EHR Patient Portals to Engage
The benefits of patient portals are pretty extensive for eye care professionals. Patient portals that integrate easily with EHR software, such as MaximEyes EHR, provide the most options for increasing connectivity. Here are some ways you can use EHR patient portals to see a positive spike in patient engagement.
- Easier Scheduling. Your senior patients may still want to pick up the phone, but the majority of your patients prefer online scheduling. Online scheduling saves an average of 2-4 minutes per patient, allowing your staff to spend their energy making patients feel welcome instead of being distracted by the phone.
- Online Bill Pay. Giving your patients the freedom to pay bills at home or on mobile devices are conveniences they will appreciate. Getting paid faster is great for you too, as your staff will decrease time hunting down payments, mailing out invoices, collecting funds over the phone, and manually posting payments. They can reallocate these hours to higher priorities.
- Reduce Errors. Manually entering patient health information can escalate into mistakes that negatively impact the care your patient receives. This causes confusion and reflects poorly against the professionalism of your practice. Eliminate rekeying data into your EHR and save time with automatic syncs for scheduling, billing, demographics, and health history data, allowing a complete view of the patient’s records at any time.
- Advanced Care. Patient portals offer a seamless workflow and interoperability with your EHR, and they are an excellent way to connect with patients and deliver on-demand, secure access to protected health information (PHI) from recent doctor visits. The patient check-in and check-out processes are faster, and the patient’s visit will be more efficient.
- Time-Saving Forms. The last thing your patient wants to do when they walk in the door is to fill out a stack of paperwork strapped to a clipboard. Paperwork is time-consuming, causing unnecessary friction for everyone. In an EHR patient portal, patients can review and update medical history forms before the patient arrives for a smooth check-in process.
- Consistent Reminders and Promotions. Your patients are busy, but so is your staff. Send and receive secure email reminders and announcements through your patient portal. Use the portal to send eye care health tips, practice news, local events, special promotions, and office closures.
- Secure Interactions. Regardless of age, security is a primary concern for your patients. EHR patient portals bring the benefits of cloud communication to your practice, so interactions—from bill pay to viewing treatment plans—take place in a secure environment.
“Patients love the flexibility of being able to update their medical history and personal information in the comfort of their own home. Check-in takes nearly seconds once they arrive for their appointment.” – Philip Gross, OD
You and your staff have the potential to overcome communication challenges and reach patients of all ages with technology. Think about fresh ways to generate awareness and provide education, so user adoption is healthy across the board. Then, you can focus on leveraging the benefits of EHR patient portals to promote a more connected experience.
Need help increasing patient portal engagement? Request a demo to see how MaximEyes EHR and its advanced patient portal tools offer the support you need.