One key reason many orthopedic practices have adopted patient portals is to meet the requirements for Meaningful Use. While that's certainly a valid reason, there are a lot of benefits to both the practice and the patients in adopting and using your patient portal to its fullest extent.
It seems contradictory, but medicine is one industry that has been traditionally obstinate about adopting new technology. For orthopedic practices, there's been resistance because there's a fear that patients won't want to use new advances. But more and more patients appreciate the ability to access their information readily. Meeting the patient's need and helping them to stay on track to improve their own compliance for optimal health means that your practice will not only see better outcomes but higher patient satisfaction, as well.
Top 5 Ways Patient Portals Improve Your Orthopedic Practice
There are a few drawbacks to patient portals. Some patients simply won't use them, no matter how great they are. There is also some need for staff training in order to use the patient portal most effectively. Once you see the benefits of using this technology, though, you'll notice that the benefits far outweigh the fear of learning to navigate a new program.
Here are some of the most impressive benefits to using your patient portal effectively:
- Reduce Administrative Work / Hours. Your patient portal will allow patients to handle a lot of the responsibilities that your staff traditionally had to complete manually. While some patients will need more service and support than others, this aspect of the patient portal will still free up a great deal of your staff's time to concentrate on more important tasks.
- Streamline the Check-In / Scheduling Process. Your patient portal will allow patients to submit any documentation needed prior to their visit in advance. You might even encourage patients to schedule their appointments through the portal or check in for their appointments that way. This aspect streamlines the check-in process in your office and allows patient better privacy when completing surveys or supplying confidential information. One of the biggest customer service complaints patients often have is an extended wait time for appointments. Using your patient portal features efficiently can help you to minimize this pain point in service.
- Improve Patient Cycle. Patient payments are an increasingly important part of the revenue cycle management puzzle because patients today pay for a much larger portion of their medical bills out of pocket. Your portal allows patients the ability to budget their bills, pay online, and estimate what their total visit cost will be so that they can pay at time of service. You can also send updates and reminders to help them keep track.
- Build Communication and Loyalty with Patients. One of the biggest benefits to the patient portal is that it allows your patients to access information about their treatment and communicate directly with their physician. They have time to think of questions, rather than trying to get everything in on a scheduled visit. They can also assess helpful tips about their wellness and new information in the industry to improve their knowledge and help them make better health conscious choices.
- Access to Records and Recommendations Mean Improved Care. With the portal, your patients can access their records and updates on any tests or recommendations whenever they need them. This means that your patient will have accurate information for their own reference and to keep any other physician informed, for instance, if they have an emergency visit to a hospital where accurate information is immediately important.
Using Your Patient Portal for Optimal Success
Not only does your patient portal keep your practice in compliance with Meaningful Use requirements, but it also provides tools to benefit your practice well beyond a simple mandate. If you're not currently using your patient portal to capacity, or haven't yet invested in a portal for your practice, now is the time to consider it.