Physicians Practice Special Issues

HealthFusion-ebook_February 2016

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2 PHYSICIANS PRACTICE B R O U G H T T O Y O U B Y THROUGH THE PATIENT PORTAL GIVING CONVENIENCE When you deliver the control and convenience your patients want, it benefits the needs of your practice. BY CHRISTINA SCANNAPIEGO magine you're get- ting ready to take a well-deserved vaca- tion over the holidays, dreading the impend- ing experience at the airport, which you expect to be a zoo. What is your first step to making the process as painless as possible? Easy — you check in online. This is exactly the way you want your patients to view your patient portal. Consumers like to feel self-sufficient. They shop online, check themselves out in the grocery store — so why should your patients ap- proach their own healthcare any differently? Joseph Smith a cardiologist and chief science and medical officer at the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, stated in a recent blog: "If our healthcare system were to implement the automation, connection and co- ordination that other industries have used to change the face of consumer engagement, boosting patient engagement wouldn't be an issue. We would instead be easing the burdens on the very patients we are trying to help." A state-of-the-art patient portal that will serve your patients and make your practice more efficient at the same time should include a sophisticated check-in feature. With a good online check-in feature, your staff will no longer need to retype the many pages of paper forms that patients tradi- tionally filled out at the office. The check-in feature for your patient portal should be com- pletely customizable and allow you to select which pages or forms your patients can access in the check-in process, including editable PDFs. Any updates to a patient's family, medical, surgical or social history as well as immu- nizations should be automatically added to the patient's encounter summary in the EHR. In these types of portals, patients can complete all of their forms conveniently from anywhere they choose, on any computer, their smartphone or tablet. As you might surmise, the online check in feature greatly decreases waiting time and receptionist time used to check patients in and congestion in the waiting room. Some point out that moving patients through the waiting room quicker also reduces their risk of picking up infections, even if it plays but a minor contribution to the over- all health of their patients. Ultimately, with patient portal features like the check in, your patients will feel more empow- ered in their healthcare. They also will appreciate the time- shifting you're allowing them. Just like you, your patients are busy. Everybody is pressed for time. In many cases, your office hours are their office hours, and requiring them to spend more time filling out forms in your waiting room causes added stress or inconvenience. Giv- ing your patients the freedom and control to prepare for their appointment in their down time can only benefit both parties. The trend of empowering pa- tients through technology is only gaining momentum. The number of physicians providing their patients with access to view, download or transmit their EHR is greatly increasing, as pointed out in a recent article compiled by HealthIT.gov highlighting the reality that the majority of pro- viders are now granting online access to health information. The same article shows that 81 percent of those who accessed their health information online found it useful and more than half of individuals who were of- fered access viewed their health record within the past year. n Christina Scannapiego is the Content Marketing Manager at HealthFusion. Christina has been a healthcare marketer for several years, and a lifestyle, sports and wellness editor and journalist for more than 10 years. I

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