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Getting patients to use an online portal for your healthcare practice seems like it should be an easy task. 

Most patients want digital access to their healthcare records. They are used to having online profiles that document their relationship with a business or brand. And, they can benefit from using a platform that allows them to manage, monitor, and maintain their health and wellness.

Yet, it isn’t always easy to get patients to adopt digital healthcare portals.

Simply launching a patient portal isn’t enough to get patients onboard. It takes both time and strategy to increase patient portal adoption. Your practice must work to get individuals to sign up and use the new technology. Here are few ways your practice can help get it done.

Show Patients The Benefits

Patients are more likely to use platforms when they can see what it will do for them. Give them a reason to sign up by showing them the major benefits.

  • Easy access to health records. Instead of calling for test results or health records, patients can simply log in and review their personal records.  
  • Online schedulings. Patients don’t need to call or wait on the phone to schedule. They can use portals to schedule and manage their appointments.  
  • Expedite appointment check-in. Instead of signing in and updating information when arriving for their appointment, patients can use online portals to perform admin tasks before they arrive. This can lead to faster check-in times and appointments.
  • Online payment options. Digital portals simplify and organize billing. Patients can log in to check their balance, make payments, and review insurance payment statuses at any time of any day.
  • Produce better healthcare outcomes. A study conducted by NEJM Catalyst showed that patient portals increase patient engagement which produces better healthcare results and outcomes. When patients are engaged and aware of their healthcare details, they are better at maintaining and managing a healthier lifestyle.
  • Faster response time. Patient portals manage and organize communication so patients can use the platform to ask doctors and staff questions and get answers faster.

As you introduce the benefits of your digital portal, make sure patients see that the new system isn’t just about making things easier for your staff; it’s about making things easier for them too. Patients may be more skeptical about the new tools if they think it is solely for the benefit of the practice.

Promote Patient Portals Through In-Office Touchpoints

When patients are in your office, use it as an opportunity to educate them about patient portals and guide them toward signing up.

Use digital signage to promote portals and educate your patients about its uses and benefits. Share informative content on screens in waiting areas and exam rooms so you can connect with patients during their down time.

While meeting with patients, introduce them to the portal. A one-on-one introduction to the platform will likely increase patient portal adoption because people aren’t left to figure it all out on their own.

Promote Portals Through Out-of-Office Touchpoints

Patients don’t need to be in your office for you to introduce them to patient portals. Use other, out-of-office touchpoints to lead them to the platform.

When patients call your office, use your on-hold messaging to inform and direct them to your digital patient portal. Consider the reasons that people call your office, and add language to your messaging that tells them how to get what they want through the portal. For example, let them know if they want to make an appointment, they can now do it online. Or if they want test results, tell them records are available in their digital profile.

Promote patient portals on your website. On your homepage and other important pages, direct website audiences to sign up for the portal. Also, highlight login tools that guide users toward creating or accessing their profile.

Simplify Portal Registration and Use

Successful patient portal adoption is all about making it easy for people to sign up and start using the platform.

Make sure the steps to register for the platform are simple. Keep the amount of information and steps needed to create an account to a minimum. The lower the barrier to entry low, the more likely a user will be to sign up.

Ensure that your platform is easily accessible through mobile devices. If your platform is only available on desktop devices, patient portal adoption will likely be lower. More and more adults go to “mobile-first.” This means that they turn to their mobile devices before their desktops when they seek information or access to online records. So, make sure users can easily access your portal through their mobile devices.

Empower and Educate Your Staff

Your staff is an integral part of increasing patient portal adoption. Give them the tools to help you promote the platform within your practice.

Train staff so they have a deep understanding of the patient portal. When your staff is an expert at using the software, they can train patients and more effectively explain the benefits to skeptical users.

Show the benefits to your staff too. Help staff see that getting more patients to use the digital portals will simplify their job. While using patient portals will likely not decrease the number of incoming phone calls, it can simplify other processes. Tasks such as scheduling, reordering prescriptions, managing patients requests, and processes payments can be simplified for staff.

Patient portals benefit both practices and patients. But adoption of this technology won’t happen on its own. Your practice must actively work to increase patient portal adoption. So, use these tips to improve patient engagement and lead to better outcomes for all that are involved.

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