22 ways to promote patient portal use and increase patient engagement
When patients communicate with providers through an online portal, everybody wins. Patients can request appointments and prescription refills, saving time and taking an active role in their care. Practices benefit from reduced staff time on the phone and increased care plan compliance.
“Today, patient engagement is huge,” said Bethany Suggs, Director of Patient Access and Information Systems at Family Medical Associates of Raleigh, “especially as more and more patients have higher out-of-pocket costs due to high-deductible health plans.”
By understanding how to promote a patient portal, practices can pave the way for increased patient engagement.
Patient portals are now widely available. A recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Stat poll found that 90% of healthcare organizations offer one. Still, many providers find it difficult to convince patients to sign up for and use a portal.
We spoke with practices about how to promote a patient portal, and how to increase patient engagement. Here are a few of the creative methods they employ.
“Today, patient engagement is huge, especially as more and more patients have higher out-of-pocket costs due to high-deductible health plans.”
Bethany Suggs, Director of Patient Access and Information Systems at Family Medical Associates of Raleigh
Provide print materials in the office
Leave portal pamphlets in the exam room for patients to read while they wait to see the physician.
Send a weekly or monthly patient newsletter that features testimonials from other patients who have used the portal, as well as tips for communicating with providers online.
Hang posters in the office that promote the portal and include a web link or QR code at the bottom, so patients can navigate to the portal on their devices.
Place printed instructions in your waiting room for patients to browse, which can prompt them to register while waiting.
Promote the portal online
Encourage portal use through social media by posting to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles about portal benefits such as educational resources, prescription refills, appointment requests, and more.
Link to the portal on your website to encourage current and prospective patients to navigate directly to the portal.
Prepare your office and staff
Set up a registration kiosk with a computer workstation to enable patients to register for the portal while they wait for their appointments.
Offer an iPad at the front desk for easy portal sign-ups during check-in.
Have an iPad at the check-out desk and invite patients to sign up after their exams, before they leave the office.
Create promotional buttons or T-shirts with phrases such as “Ask me about our patient portal” to help start the conversation between patients and staff.
Hire students or temporary workers to help patients register for the portal.
Adapt existing office workflows
Ask new patients to register prior to their initial visit when they call to schedule their first appointment.
Include your portal URL at the bottom of the patient summary. This can serve as a reminder when the patient reviews his or her summary of care after leaving the office.
Send appointment reminders through the portal and encourage patients to register to receive future alerts.
Create a “tired of waiting?” hold message to remind patients that if they were registered for the patient portal, they could perform many routine tasks (such as refilling a prescription or requesting an appointment) online, instead of waiting on hold.
Direct patients to the portal when they have questions, reminding them that if they have any questions about their health record, lab results, or care plan, they can use secure messaging to ask their provider, who will respond in a timely manner.
Equip your staff with talking points
Assure patients of data security by reminding them of your portal’s security standards.
Mention quicker turnaround of lab results when the patient accesses results through the portal, rather than waiting for them to be delivered by mail.
Explain your practice’s requirements for portal use as a participant in government reimbursement programs.
Offer incentives to patients and staff
Offer an incentive to patients for registration, such as entry into a drawing for a prize.
Host a contest for staff, awarding a prize to the employee who signs up the most patients.
Offer complimentary super-user training to help new patient portal users navigate the system with confidence.
Greenway’s patient portal helps you gain loyalty, work toward clinical outcomes, and meet goals for value-based programs — all while easing the burden on your staff.
For more information, CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation with a Greenway representative. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.