Now that I have about 750 patient portals, about three quarters of my patients, I have learned a few lessons along the way.
Education, is necessary, and double teaming is best. Both my nurse and I work on explaining how the portal works with written instructions, generating and printing the username and password at the visit.
However, this is not enough. I tell my patients that a summary of the visit will be on their smart phone or device of choice before they get home. I expect them to not only open the summary, but send us a message back, and to get comfortable with retrieving and sending messages. Also my nurse and I highly recommend bookmarking the portal access information to their favorites. This will be very important to have easily accessible whenever a refill or appointment request is made in the future.
If a patient does not open their summary information, in 7 days the message will pop up as unread, and my nurse will call, send the printed summary with a reminder sheet on how to use the portal by snail mail. This extra effort pays off.
As soon as any laboratory, x-ray, mammogram, DEXA, pap results pop up the actual report with a templated letter by my design, is attached and personalized and sent. Of course unexpected or abnormal results will usually require a visit.
Quick response to any portal requests can easily be handled by my nurse as she keeps the portal inbox open at all times and the messages are timed, easily read and immediately taken care of.
By responding to an ever changing world and meeting patients expectations, the portal system has been one of the best facets instituted in my internal medicine practice.
Patients are extremely appreciative of having the ability to interact with the office in this fashion, and my nurse has been extremely critical in its success.
So, the one managing the portal, will be the likely success or failure of portal integration.