7 Ways Physicians Can Save Money Using the Patient Portal

Sandra Levy

Disclosures

May 01, 2018

In This Article

Getting Patients on Board

Thirty percent of patients who visit hospital-owned practices use the portal, a rate that drops to 10% to 15% of patients who visit physician-owned practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association's (MGMA's) 2017 Practice Operations Survey. According to an MGMA spokesperson, 35% of patients in primary care practices use the portal, which is the highest percentage compared with other specialties.

Of the functions of patient portals, MGMA found that accessing test results was the most popular (29%), with bill payments, communicating with providers and medical staff, downloading or transmitting medical records, and scheduling appointments each at 28%.[8]

How can physicians encourage more patients to use the portal?

"The main way is a face-to-face encounter with the patient when they're coming in for visits," says Moghadas. "When the staff is doing an update on the history of present illness, they should ask, 'Are you signed up to give information on the patient portal?' This gives an opportunity for the staff person to say, 'Let us sign you up.'"

"The Medicare patient is in the office at least three times a year; those are three opportunities to get that patient enrolled in the patient portal."

Ryan says that physicians should take the lead in teaching patients how to use the portal. Ryan's patients learn by watching him use the system. "When they see me documenting and charting, they see the same boxes and buttons that they'll use. It's the same experience," he says.

"We expect our patients to use the portal for scheduling instead of using the phone," McNeill explains. "We have same-day appointments available. So instead of patients having to wait until the office opens and wait on hold to make an appointment, they can decide at 2 am that they want to be seen and make an appointment." They can also log on for refill requests and pose questions or concerns, he adds.

Polls and surveys are useful in finding out what features patients would like to have in the patient portal. Surveys can be conducted while patients are in the office, and they can be posted on the practice's website or Facebook page.

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