Healthcare organizations have different needs and look for varying patient portal features and functionalities. Still, there are many features that provide real value all-around – both in terms of patient satisfaction and in their ability to help physicians streamline workflow and save time.
These are the top three patient portal features that get the best responses from doctors.
1. Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders have been shown to reduce no-shows by 30 percent. However, the problem for many healthcare organizations is that making phone calls and mailing appointment reminders is labor intensive. With patient portals, this is all changing. By setting an auto-reminder feature, patients can receive an email or SMS text about their upcoming appointment. This doesn’t require office staff intervention, and it minimizes loss of revenue to the practice.
2. Intake Forms
Intake forms have become the most popular feature within the patient portal. Physicians and staff love this feature because patients are able to fill the forms out online, and the data is then saved automatically (as PDF files or as structured data) within the patient’s health record section of the portal and in the EMR. Online intake forms save time for patients, but they also reduce processing times for office staff, as there are no records to copy or data to transfer into the organization’s EMR. Practices and hospitals that utilize a patient portal software will eventually have intake forms (if they don’t already).
In addition to using the patient portal to schedule appointments with their physicians online, patients are able to use the portal to communicate via email, phone or even video conferencing. With telemedicine services becoming more widely adopted, physicians are beginning to appreciate the flexibility of scheduling eConsultations. This type of appointment is more cost-effective and saves time. Plus, it gives physicians and patients the ability to consult from the comfort of their own home, making for a more comfortable experience.
There are additional patient portal features such as secure messaging, prescription refills, and test results that can be a benefit to any practice. Before installing a patient portal, make sure you have a good understanding of your practice’s needs and of the features that your patients want and would actually use.
Does your healthcare organization have a patient portal, or are you looking to implement one in the future? Tell us what features you think would be useful to have.
This article was originally published on the MWE blog.