“It’s a wonderful world” for Louis Armstrong and “a marshmallow world in the winter,” according to Dean Martin. But for patients, it’s a digital world. As your private practice strives to survive and thrive in these challenging times, an online patient portal should be number one on your top 10 hits list for improving your user experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us patients were willing to communicate through online channels. Now, as we watch prices skyrocket for everything, your independent practice needs to keep a close eye on expenses. Time needs to be scrupulously managed, and resources need to be utilized in the most efficient manner possible, all while delivering a positive patient experience. Today’s affordable electronic medical records (EMR) and improved healthcare technology can keep your practice humming and improve your patient experience.
What is the User Experience in Healthcare?
The user experience in healthcare is not just about the quality of care, although that is extremely important. Patient experience, or user experience, is more about how they feel when visiting or communicating with your private practice. It is most obvious in the level of empathy exhibited by providers and team members, but can also be found in the systems you use.
The user experience covers the entire continuum of patient care, from making an appointment and seeing a provider, to participating in a telemedicine consultation and using the patient portal to ask questions and find information. The experience should be positive at every touchpoint, and make the patient feel comfortable and supported, not frustrated and alone. For someone who is already having health problems, or is concerned about a loved one, dealing with an inefficient system or unwieldy portal can be overwhelming.
From routine appointments to care during challenging times, a key factor in the patient experience is communication. The ability to ask questions, get test results, or find information pertaining to their condition reduces anxiety and helps patients become more willing participants in their own healthcare management process.
Why Should Your Private Practice Prioritize the User Experience?
“Enhancing the experience of patients and their loved ones is crucial in today’s health care environment. Competition has led patients and insurers to become more informed consumers who expect higher quality, more value and better outcomes. Patient satisfaction is viewed as an important indicator of quality of care and assists in understanding patients’ perceptions of their care.”
Although the benefit of a better experience should be reason enough to invest practice time and resources in this area, there are also solid business benefits to be realized as well:
Instead of dropping everything every time a patient has a question or scrambling to find test results, a patient portal collects all this information in one convenient location. Patients can refer to the portal at their convenience, and providers can set aside specific times during the day to answer questions.
Patients can easily send messages, schedule appointments and request prescription refills via the portal, without taking up valuable office staff time.
Reduced Operating Costs
By automating the most routine administrative tasks, the providers’ time can be managed more efficiently. Administrative staff can focus on supporting the medical staff and managing medical billing without spending time on the phones to manage appointments or answer routine questions.
Increased Patient Engagement
With access to test results and answers to their questions, patients become more engaged and participative in their own healthcare management process. Portals encourage communication between appointments, because patients have the comfort of knowing they can get a response to their concerns through a secure messaging system.
How to Create a Healthcare Patient Portal that Prioritizes the User Experience
As it becomes more of a digital world, the healthcare patient portal is playing an increasingly important role in the healthcare user experience. To help patients at your independent practice get the best user experience, here are some steps you can take to ensure a positive patient portal experience:
Know Your Users
Understand who will be using your patient portal from both the provider and the patient sides. Talk to your providers about what they need to do their job more efficiently, and ask patients about what they expect in a portal. Think about those with internet accessibility issues, and those who have technology or physical challenges who might not be able to hear, see clearly, or understand the portal access process. If administrative staff will have access, find out what type of resources they need when patients or providers are looking for information.
Educate Your Users
Some patients may have no problems at all adapting to a patient portal, but others may need more support. Use a patient portal that is easy to navigate in the first place, but also offer plenty of online support to explain its use. Include videos and blog posts with screenshots on your website and social media. Have a dedicated staff member who is available to help walk patients through the process.
Make Sure It's Secure
To protect your patients and your practice, only use a patient portal that is secure and fully compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements.
Watch Your Bounce Rate
Look at usage data for your patient portal, and find out how many users leave shortly after they sign onto the site. A high bounce rate can mean that there is some type of problem, and that your portal is not providing a positive user experience. Ask them about any concerns they are encountering, so you can make the site more user-friendly again.
Choose a System for the Present and Future
Of course, you hope that your private practice will grow over the next few years. So, make sure that your patient portal can grow with you. Don’t look for the lowest-cost technology that may meet your current needs, as it could lead to problems as your practice grows. Invest in a robust option that offers regular updates and can handle larger volumes.
Ask the experts at Amazing Charts for more insights on patient portals. Get the best of all worlds – a useable EHR for an affordable price and a healthcare patient portal that prioritizes the user experience – and patients will be singing your praises.
State-of-the-Art Technology from Amazing Charts Helps Private Practices Compete
Amazing Charts offers solutions specifically designed to help your private practice survive and thrive. Rated #1 for ease of use, our Electronic Health Record (EHR) was designed by a doctor to be easy to use and affordable. It includes a Patient Portal that helps you work with your patients electronically to exchange messages, share visit summaries, test results and educational materials.
Amazing Charts was founded in 2001 by a practicing family physician, and has grown consistently since then by creating easy-to-use solutions for delivering patient care. Today, we offer a variety of capabilities, including Electronic Health Records (EHR), Practice Management, Medical Billing Services, Population Health and Remote Care. Call 866-382-5932 or visit our website to learn about our products, schedule a practice consultation, arrange a free trial, and find more tips to help your private practice stay relevant and competitive.