The patient portal is an effective tool for building your practice, by providing a positive patient experience that increases both patient retention and referrals. However, the tool will only be as good as the amount of participation it gets from your patient base. If your patient portal is sadly underused, or if you are hesitant about implementing the technology because you are unsure of its value, check out these tips for increasing participation and usage on your own patient portal.
Promote Your Portal
Your patients won’t use your portal if they don’t know it exists, so it’s important to promote this new feature at every opportunity. Some ideas for getting the word out include:
• In office promotion, such as posters and brochures
• A kiosk or tablet in the office where patients can register
• Registration information on appointment cards
• Have staff verbally remind patients about the portal during appointments or phone calls
• Place a prominent link on your website so patients can click on the portal feature
Emphasize the Benefits
A new portal can be a complex piece of technology with a wide range of features. Do not overwhelm your patients by giving them too much information about your portal too fast. Instead, begin by focusing on one or two patient benefits of the portal, such as the ability to schedule appointments or refill prescriptions online. By letting patients know how the portal will benefit them, they will be more likely to register for this new service.
Start the Communication Ball Rolling
One of the top reasons patient portals are becoming popular is their ability to share communication quickly and easily between patients and providers. Get the ball rolling by using the portal to let patients know about special promotions or other information they might find useful. Assign a patient coordinator that ensures questions posted to the portal are answered quickly and thoroughly.
Get the Physician Involved
Studies indicate that patients are more likely to open emails and other forms of communication that come directly from their physician. More than 90 percent of individuals will respond to this type of correspondence, versus only 10 percent that are likely to respond if the correspondence comes from the practice. Your plastic surgeon does not have to permanently pen each email or message, but linking the physician’s name as the sender of the communication will ensure many more patients will actually read and respond to the message.
As more practices tune into the many benefits of the electronic patient portal, it is expected that use of this service will increase exponentially in upcoming years. Make sure your practice is ready to make the most of this service by getting the most patient engagement you possibly can. You, as well as your patients, will see the benefits of greater patient retention, more referrals and a healthier bottom line. To learn more, contact patientNOW at 800.436.3150.