Patient portals have become a staple of the modern healthcare experience. The benefits speak for themselves: Patient portals lead to better efficiency, engagement, satisfaction, and health outcomes.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that patient portal adoption has been on the rise in recent years. According to an MGMA survey, 90 percent of providers offer a patient portal solution, and the remaining 10 percent are working on implementing one—but doing so can certainly prove challenging without the right plan in place for implementation. Implementing a new system is a complex process, not only for technical reasons but also because of the various ways it impacts patients and staff.
Whether your practice is among the 10 percent without an existing patient portal or you already have one that’s simply not making the cut, your new solution will only be as effective as your strategy for rolling it out. Taking the right steps during implementation will help ensure the successful adoption of a new patient portal technology.
7 Steps to Implement a New Patient Portal Solution
Follow the steps below to help ensure the successful adoption of a new patient portal technology for your practice:
1. Research different solutions
It’s never wise to select the first tool you come across no matter how promising it may appear. Do your research, learn as much as possible about the array of patient portal solutions on the market, and make your selection based on your unique goals and priorities. When evaluating and comparing potential solutions, it’s also important to ask the right questions, such as:
- Can the technology have full API integration with my EHR and practice management system?
- Is dedicated customer support available?
- Will I need to install software or system updates?
- What success have other organizations had using it?
- Do you have any case studies you can share?
2. Look for the right features
When researching potential solutions, look for the features and benefits that are most important for your practice and your patients. Not all patient portals are created equal, and some have more robust capabilities than others. Key features to look for in a patient portal include:
- An excellent user experience
- Bidirectional API Integration with existing systems
- Two-way secure messaging
- Real-time Appointment Scheduling
- Integration with intake, reminders, and surveys
- Branding customization
- Patient-friendly lab results
- Mobile app available
- Enhance practice workflows
Also, look for a vendor with a portal migration utility, which helps practices avoid manually reregistering patients within a new system by migrating those who are already registered as part of the overall transition. This feature truly goes a long way in helping practices switch patient portals painlessly.
3. Get buy-in from key stakeholders
Before you move forward with implementing new patient portal technology, getting buy-in from all key stakeholders is essential. The most effective implementations begin with every stakeholder on the same page and willing to adopt the new system. Communicate the features, benefits, and steps it will take to implement a new patient portal to get everyone on board before taking action.
4. Evaluate and enhance existing workflows
Leading patient portals should differentiate themselves by providing proficiencies to your practice workflows. Evaluating workflows and enabling new benefits like patient self-scheduling, or pre-visit form completions can deliver significant workflow enhancements.
5. Develop an onboarding plan
Your new patient portal will only be beneficial if your practice staff and patients know how to use it. Select a partner that provides consulting and onboarding to ensure you are successful with your new patient portal. This way, you can ensure you’re making the most of the new solution and taking full advantage of all the features it has to offer. Onboarding plans typically include details on training, workflow changes needed, new policies, and roles and responsibilities.
6. Successful go-live
You can then make the patient portal available to the entire practice. When talking about the portal with patients, make sure to communicate the different benefits clearly and address any privacy concerns or questions they may have. To increase adoption, it’s important you market the new patient portal and raise awareness however possible.
7. Seek out painless portal migration
The idea of switching portals can strike fear in the heart of your staff who may believe that migrating already-registered patients to a new portal will be painful. Finding a patient portal vendor that performs migration as part of the overall transition to a new portal is crucial for staff buy-in and general ease of conversion. Also look for vendors who configure all clinical and demographic data from the vendor system to the portal, making data transfer seamless to the organization and the patient.
Adopting a new patient portal technology may seem daunting, but with the right plan in place and an ideal vendor to partner with, you can make implementation as painless as possible. Schedule a demo to learn about the Healthy Outcomes solutions suite, which offers touchpoints throughout the entire patient journey.