Patient portals, remember those? If not, don’t worry, you are not alone.
In summary, patient portals are healthcare-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers, such as physicians and hospitals.
Considering our on-the-go lives, surely patients must love this 24/7 access to their healthcare, right?
Not necessarily. Patient portals actually aren’t as popular as we think.
Patient portals and patient engagement
In healthcare, patient engagement is key. After all, healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan.
As Colin Madigan, Director of Client Engagement, writes in his blog post “What is the Key to Improving Patient Engagement?”, “Patients are increasingly educated and invested in their own care, and are less willing to take what a physician says at face value.”
When it comes to increasing patient engagement, one suggested method, that continues to be pushed in 2018, is the use of patient portals. The idea is that the interoperability patient portals provide, such as access to critical PHI at a moment’s notice, empowers patients to take control of their health and wellness.
However, despite the availability of patient portals, they are actually not used that often.
Fewer patients are actually using patient portals
According to the ONC data brief about patient technology use, over half of the patients offered patient portal access viewed their own medical records, which translates to 28% of the total survey population.
The ONC researchers looked at patient EHR use trends, patient portal uptake, digital health and mHealth adoption, and use of wearable mHealth technology to retrieve this data.
So even if your healthcare organization offers patient portal access to your patients, don’t assume that your patient engagement is going to spike up.
On the other hand, don’t dismiss patient portals just yet. They are still a great tool to increase patient engagement, but with a little enhancement, such as the integration of a HIPAA compliant email API, patient engagement in patient portals can be revived.
Draw patients back to patient portals with HIPAA compliant email API
Try putting more relevant information in your email notifications to bring patients back to your patient portal.
Think about how Facebook, Pinterest and other applications email you notifications about content you may like or new features that are relevant to you. These are not generic emails, but rather specific messages that you are likely to respond to.
Likewise, after integrating with an email API, you can send patients specific messages, such as “it has been X months since your last check up”, along with three reasons why they should come in.
Paubox’s HIPAA compliant encrypted email API allows hospitals, health management organizations (HMOs), clinics, doctors, and other covered entities to integrate Paubox’s seamless and secure email solution with their IT infrastructure.
When it comes to patient portals, patient engagement, and HIPAA compliant email API:
- Patient portals are recommended to increase patient engagement
- Few patients are actually using patient portals
- An email API sending relevant patient portals email notifications can increase patient portal usage
- Make sure your email API is HIPAA compliant