Patient Portals: How to Engage Patients and Make Your Practice More Efficient
Keeping your patients engaged in their healthcare and using a patient portal is a critical part of running a successful optometry and ophthalmology practice. If you want to remain competitive and keep up with the younger generation, it’s important to offer easier ways to interact with your patients 24/7.
Patient portals that include a seamless workflow and interoperability with an EHR, such as MaximEyes EHR, are an excellent way to connect with patients and deliver on-demand, secure access to personal health information (PHI) from recent doctor visits.
Let’s look at how you can engage patients and make your practice more efficient with advanced patient portal tools.
Using Advanced Patient Portal Tools
Advanced patient portal tools are key functions you should add to your patient communication strategy. When you give your patients the freedom to access a secure patient portal at their convenience, from home or on the go, on any mobile device, your relationship will be more meaningful. Key benefits of advanced functions include:
- Online Scheduling: Save an average of two-four minutes per patient and spend less time on the phone booking appointments.
- Online Bill Pay: Reduce past-due balances, increase revenue, eliminate data entry errors, and get paid faster with text and email reminders. Learn more and watch a short video.
- Online Faxing: Save hundreds of dollars a month and eliminate the cost of fax machines, phone lines, storage, paper, and toner. For example: 5,000 faxed pages = $155 in supplies + $55 staff hours*.
- Online Welcome/Medical History Forms: Speed up the check-in process and have patients review and update their medical history data before they visit your office.
Patient Portal Engagement Tips
How do you encourage patients to register on the patient portal and keep them coming back? The key is to make their first experience pleasant so they continue to use the portal. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Add a message on your phone voicemail menus and on-hold voice messages.
- Hang posters or flyers in the waiting room, exam room, and restrooms.
- Have staff wear an “Ask me about our Patient Portal” button to encourage questions.
- Add the portal URL to appointment cards, patient education materials, invoices, business cards, letterhead, and website.
- Create a simple pre-printed form or postcard to give patients that includes your patient portal URL and instructions on how to sign up. Include a place on the form where patients can write down their username and password.
- Train your staff so they can learn the patient portal inside and out. Watch training videos or attend a live webinar that your EHR or patient portal vendor provides.
- Write an elevator pitch (short description of key benefits) that your staff can verbally share with patients during their office visit.
- Make the portal registration part of the check-in and check-out process. Walk patients through the log in process before they leave the office. Use a tablet or iPad to let patients practice logging in with their username and password.
- Remind patients they can make appointments online through their patient portal when they call for an appointment.
- Remind patients to view their medical history, eye exam results, and other clinical summaries online before they leave the office. Don’t force patients to sign-up; however, a polite nudge may push them to try it out.
- Encourage patients to send your office a secure message from their patient portal. Once they sign up, enter them into a drawing for a prize or gift card. Display a fishbowl with a poster or the prize with the information where patients will see it in your waiting room.
- Export emails from your EHR or practice management system for patients who have not enrolled in your patient portal. Send a series of emails to patients encouraging them to choose a username and password. Enter them into a monthly drawing.
- Use the portal to send messages and announcements, such as appointment reminders, health tips, practice news, local events, special promotions, office closures, and more. Always include a link to the patient portal to engage patients and initiate interactions.
- Send targeted health information to specific patients, such as diabetes management.
- Require all patients to email their provider only through their patient portal.
- Offer patients a discount on their next optical purchase if they sign up for the patient portal while in your office.
- Offer patients a discount off their bill if they pay their bills via their patient portal.
- Enter the patient’s name into a monthly drawing if the patient schedules an appointment online.
Managing the Patient-Provider Relationship
Managing the patient-provider relationship and complying with Incentive Program requirements has never been simpler. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you implement a HIPPA-compliant patient portal and certified EHR in your office, click here to request more information.
If you are a current MaximEyes customer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.920.1940, ext. 6659 for more information on how to add the patient portal to your MaximEyes system.
*Information for this article provided by Updox, a First Insight patient portal partner.