EHR Portals Attractive to Patients, Build Loyalty

EHRWant your practice to make friends and influence people? A recent consumer survey indicates 52 percent of patients want what 23 percent already have, which is the ability to tap into their physician’s electronic health records (EHRs) to access their records for test results, to order prescription refills, and to make appointments.

A study by Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners released in early August indicates patients who have connected to an EHR via a portal are more satisfied with their doctors overall, by a 78 to 68 percent margin, than those who don’t have access. That same group expressed confidence in the quality of care they received by an 82 to 73 percent margin.

Companies behind the survey said it’s likely patients who can tap directly into their records feel a greater connection with the physician. “The more engaged you can get with your patient, the more loyal they will be,” Michael McGuire, director of strategy at 88 Brand Partners told American Medical News.

And while no one is picking a doctor solely on EHR access, numbers indicate they are thinking of it as one factor, McGuire said.

The survey identified four categories of patients and their relationship to physicians’ EHR:

  • “Disinterested nonusers,” who believe EHRs are no more accurate than paper files, comprised 18 percent of respondents.
  • “Interested nonusers,” who tend to be less satisfied with their physician than any other type of user, made up 52 percent.
  • “Trial users,” a third of whom have just recently started checking records in EHRs, comprised 9 percent.
  • “Regular users,” one in three of whom are caregivers to an adult family member, made up 13 percent.

According to Tamara O’Shaughnessy, vice president of Aeffect, interested nonusers said they aren’t connecting with EHRs because they haven’t been given access to a patient portal, the physician doesn’t have an EHR, or they don’t know how to use a portal.

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3 Responses to “EHR Portals Attractive to Patients, Build Loyalty”

  1. Lee Sierocki, CPC says:

    Patient portals may also give patients the ability to tap into their billing transactions and pay their bill, review their statements, update their insurance information or send a message regarding their statement back to a collections specialist. While this seems like a step in the right direction, it is sometimes difficult for patients to navigate through a system they just are not quite ready for. Sometimes when a patient registers on a portal, they think its great, and it is for clinical information, but when they think they are being environmental correct and go paperless, they may never get a “hard copy”, “in the mail” statement. It will be by email and maybe even a phone call telling you there is a message from your your doctor, or even a text message if you indicate you wanted it all. But when the patient never checks their portals to see their bill, accounts have gone to collections because they never acknowledged the email statements and or phone calls. That is when they will request a “hard copy” statement before they will pay their bill. Most of the time it will be the patients error because they didn’t realize they needed to actually read the emails or check their spam emails or for some reason couldn’t reset their passwords and reconnect and became frustrated at the whole thing.

  2. Rebecca Wiedmeyer- CEO of Vela Consulting Group says:

    In the decade I have worked in this industry and observed it evolve, I find more and more that physician utilization of the EHR has become the imperative to the operative success of any technology and communication in the space, especially with regards to the patient-provider relationship. Having worked for a large EHR vendor in the past, I am aware of the benefits and challenges of an integrated “solution” for technology and aspects of communication with patients. Ultimately, I have observed that finding the “right” solution (the best fit for the practice/hospital, etc.), while a bit time consuming, will conclusively lead to the most success. I refer the majority of my MD clients to sites like http://www.ehrscope.com to help them find what works (a sort of EHR matchmaking service.) Regardless, the adoption of the EHR is inevitable in this space, and it behooves the doctor and the patient to optimize as much as possible.

  3. Veronica R says:

    I work for Kaiser Permanente, an organization which highly encourages the use of patient portals because of benefits for both providers and members. Communication from members and providers may be seemless if the portal is used appropriately. Benefits include: setting up appointments, emailing physicians, immediate access to lab and x-ray results, programs avaialable for weight loss or diabetic management, and much more. The member can print off anything they feel is suitable for their needs. We seem to attain high volume of usage and most are between the ages of 20-40. The goal is to do exactly as stated in the title…attract memebers to our healthplan and retain loyalty but it is also a matter of educating members on how to use the portal to their benefit. It works well.

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