Updated 5/27/2015 – Every practice with providers attesting for Meaningful Use in 2015 is required to provide electronic transmission of patient data, such as with a Greenway PrimeSUITE patient portal. In this post, we will discuss some of the best practices for getting patients to use your new patient portal!
Even if you don’t intend to attest for Meaningful Use this year, or plan to implement a patient portal sometime in the future, it’s important to begin taking steps now to ensure a successful launch later on.
Meaningful Use 2015 Patient Portal Requirements
First, let’s discuss the patient portal requirements for 2015 if you are planning to participate in the Meaningful Use EHR Incentive program this year.
Stage 1 Patient Portal Requirements for 2015
- If you are in Stage 1 Meaningful Use for 2015, you must have had a live patient portal prior to your attestation period.
- Additionally, more than 50% of all unique patients are provided online access to their health information within 4 business days after the information is available to the Eligible Professional. This is what the patient portal does automatically after patient registration.
Stage 2 Patient Portal Requirements for 2015
If you are in Stage 2 Meaningful Use in 2015 (meaning you have attested for two prior years), successfully attesting means that you need to work hard to ensure that your patients use your new portal.
- The Stage 2 Core Objective is: Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information.
- What this measure requires:
- More than 50% of all unique patients are provided online access to their health information within 4 business days after the information is available to the Eligible Professional. (Again, this is fulfilled automatically with patient portal registrations).
- More than 5% of all unique patients view, download or transmit to a third party their health information.
What this actually means for you: Not only do you have to provide online access to health information for over half of your patients, you also have to ensure that more than 5% of your patients actually access and login to your portal.
How do we get our patients to start using the patient portal?
Capture Email Addresses! If you have not already been doing so, immediately begin having your front desk, telephone staff, and even physicians to ask for and confirm patient email addresses in PrimeSUITE whenever possible.
For example, you may have your front desk staff ask or confirm email addresses for every patient at check-in, and your telephone staff ask or confirm email addresses when making an appointment. This would also be an ideal time to have some talking points for your staff to encourage patients to use the portal and why it is beneficial for them.
Remember, capturing accurate email addresses is absolutely critical to the success of your portal and meeting the 5% Meaningful Use patient usage threshold for Stage 2 participants.
REMIND, REMIND, REMIND patients about the portal – repetition is key!
- Post signs around the office, at the front desk, at the check out desk, on the front door, in your exam rooms, and even in your restrooms!
- Post notifications on your Facebook page, other social media channels, and your website.
- Remind patients through automated reminder tools (PeopleLYNK or patient reminder calls).
- Add large patient portal login and registration buttons on your website and Facebook page and other social media channels
- Use telephone on-hold messages to remind patients about the portal (“Did you know that you can avoid waiting on hold to make your appointment? Ask a representative about signing up for our patient portal and enjoy the convenience of requesting appointments online, and requesting prescription refills without having to call the office.”)
- Distribute flyers and send letters to patients.
- Add a custom message on your patient statements – Learn how
Try Patient Portal Poster Advertisements
Develop Policies and Procedures
Ensure that you have and communicate clear policies and procedures for your staff to follow in the areas of:
- Capturing and confirming patient email addresses. Who is responsible for doing it, and at what points of the patient encounter?
- Response times. Even if you get most of your patients to begin using the portal, if your providers fail to reply to messages in a timely manner, or refill requests go unacknowledged, you will find that patients revert back to calling the office and will complain that the portal isn’t working. You will need to make sure that your physicians are committed to the success of the portal, and troubleshoot how to best integrate online requests into their daily workflow in order to ensure speedy responses to your patients.
- Make registration easy for patients. Ensure that you have a clear internal process for how you intend to get patients signed up for the portal. Assign 1-2 people in your office as designed “portal experts” who can assist patients in getting signed up or interfacing with your vendor when problems crop up.
Communicate Benefits To Patients
Educate your patients! Develop the talking points to get patients excited about using the technology to help save them time and to get better and faster access to records and care.
- You can send us private, secure messages. Educate them on what types of messages are appropriate for the portal, and when providers will use messaging, and what they can expect for a response time.
- You can request prescription refills without calling the office
- You can view, update, and manage your health information online
- We can send you lab results and appointment reminders