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Whether you refer to the people you serve as patients or clients, patient portals (or client portals) can help increase communication and lower overhead costs by adding convenience and accessibility to your behavioral health practice. According to HealthIT.gov, a patient portal is a secure digital platform that allows people to access all involved parties in their care at their convenience 24/7, using their digital devices from anywhere with an Internet connection. Whether offered through a behavioral patient portal or a medical EMR software option, digital patient engagement tools can increase trust in your services by offering a convenient, centralized location for all digital interactions.
How Does Patient Portal Software Work?
After logging into a secure patient portal, patients and clients can engage in multiple forms of education, assessment, and communication with you or your staff. Depending on the sophistication of the portal, they can see and request appointments, adjust the calendar for their time zone, access a video connection for their telehealth sessions, read web-page articles that you suggest, and complete paperwork. Patient portal software can help you confirm patient appointments without leaving phone messages by sending secured text messages requesting confirmation. These messages can be securely sent to the patient or client’s mobile phone number.
Patient portals allow patients and clients to ask quick questions that alleviate anxiety while offering communication channels that offer data privacy and security for HIPAA-compliant, digital patient engagement. Many patient portals also feature digital engagement tools that support care between visits. They can offer various behavioral assessment tools and surveys, such as behavior tracking questionnaires. More advanced systems allow for communication between remote patient monitoring devices and your office to help measure and track behavioral and medical health conditions over time. They can allow patients to request non-urgent appointments, check benefits and coverage, update contact information and make payments.
Medical EMR Software
As with behavioral systems, patient portal EMR software systems must always comply with meaningful use standards to ensure privacy and protection of the data saved and shared. In addition to many of the features outlined above for behavioral patient portals, medical EMR software allows staff members to send notices about new tests or prescriptions ordered or to show lab results. They can help the patient keep notes about recent or future doctor visits, discharge summaries, prescribed medications, immunizations, and allergies.
Many patients expect convenience and quick service from professionals in many areas of their lives. Healthcare is no different. With 92% of consumers reporting convenience as the #1 consideration when choosing a health professional, it may be time to start thinking about using digital patient engagement tools to help sustain your practice.
Review Telehealth.org’s Technology Buyer’s Guide & Directory to send a list of questions to multiple vendors if you are considering patient portal software. If you want more information about basic telehealth services and their legal and ethical compliance issues, see the TBHI professional training course below to earn CME or CE hours while you get informed.
What is Telehealth? Basic Technology Orientation for the Busy Practitioner
In this 2.5 hour, basic technology training, you will find a well-organized discussion of relevant basic research along with practical suggestions for making foundational decisions about your digital practice with cloud storage, backups systems, security software such as VPNs, HIPAA compliance and software purchasing, synchronous and asynchronous technologies, and much more.