Part 2: Your patient portal as a marketing tool

What does your patient portal have to do with marketing your practice?

Turns out, as much as you want it to.

We know the power of the patient portal when it comes to driving patient engagement. But that’s not all that your patient portal can do. It can also act as the centerpiece of a successful marketing strategy for your practice.

“As long as our patients are happy, that’s the most effective way to spread the word in town,” said Bethany Suggs, of Family Medical Associates of Raleigh. “And the portal plays a very important part in patient satisfaction and inspiring good reviews and referrals.”

The goal: Greater patient delight

Because of escalating healthcare costs, your patients are evolving into savvy healthcare consumers. They’re shopping around, using personal referrals and online reviews to choose the provider who best fits their needs.

Bethany’s practice has experienced significant improvements in patient satisfaction and patient delight since implementing its portal. Patients want to be heard, she said, and they don’t want to wait forever for a response. At the same time, practice staff members need the time to respond thoughtfully and to address each patient’s needs.

Having an effective portal makes it that much easier to go the extra mile for your patients … without adding a lot to your workload, Bethany said.

Leverage your portal for marketing

Consider how much of an impact your patient portal can have on your patient’s life. With the right portal, your patients can:

  • Schedule appointments.
  • Ask clinical and billing questions.
  • Request prescription refills.
  • Stay up to date on their open accounts and payments.
  • View their lab results.
  • Access links to additional information on their conditions and treatments.

Using these features and services, you can begin to tell your practice’s patient-centric mission and goals. You can show that yours is a practice where patients don’t have to spend hours in the waiting room, where communication is fast and easy, and where patients get their questions answered in a timely, thoughtful manner every time.

“These kinds of things are really what patients are going to remember and talk to their friends about,” Bethany said. “They aren’t going to talk about their A1C poor control being less than 15%. They’re not even going to know that. But they do know that they only waited ten minutes and that when they had a follow-up question, the doctor got back to them in three hours.”

When your practice can deliver on the things that really matter most to patients — convenience and prompt, thoughtful care — you’ll have a strong narrative to market your practice.

Promoting your practice with Patient Messaging

Where your patient portal gives your patients the power to schedule appointments and message you with questions and requests, Greenway Health’s Patient Messaging can give you an even more proactive tool to promote your practice.

With Patient Messaging, you can send secure messages to your patients about:

  • Practice closures for holidays or inclement weather.
  • Birthday and holiday greetings.
  • Special offers and promotions.
  • Seasonal reminders (e.g., “Time to get your flu shot!”)

And, if your patients have questions or concerns about a message you send them, they can respond immediately and get the timely answers they want and need.

“Patient portals and messaging tools offer practices a whole new level of patient engagement,” said Christopher Swartz, Product Analyst at Greenway Health. “When you can communicate directly with your patients using the medium they prefer, and they can access their health information when they want, your practice can really use that. You can help improve patient outcomes, let patients know about upcoming promotions, and improve your practice’s online reputation, too.”

To learn more about the potential power of your patient portal, read Part 1 of this blog series.