Tag Archives: patient portal features

3 Portal Features Every Pediatric Clinic and Parent Should Know

Designed to meet the specific needs of pediatric and primary care groups and their patients, Bridge Patient Portal is a highly customizable and easy to use platform which securely connects administrators, physicians and parents.

pediatric patient portal

Bridge Patient Portal greatly improves efficiency by providing parents with a wealth of information about their child’s health and securely facilitates communication to their child’s providers.  The pediatric suite includes the following 3 unique features not found collectively in other systems — CDC immunization records complete with immunization physician-signed record printouts, growth charts (BMI, Height, Weight), and multiple child support with easy toggling between children.

1. CDC Immunization Records

Immunizations pediatric patient portal

Parents can view their children’s immunizations in one centralized location. This module not only shows which immunizations their child has received, but also which immunizations are overdue, due now, and coming up in the future. The immunization chart’s timeline allows parents to never miss a beat with their child’s immunization schedule.

Further, parents can now print a list of the immunizations complete with the physician’s signature, making gathering these medical forms for schools or camps easier than ever.

2. Growth charts (BMI, Height, Weight)

growth chart patient portal

Parents have the ability to monitor their child’s vitals (i.e. height and weight) by viewing a standard growth chart as well as a graph displaying which into which percentile the child’s information places him. This information will also display the standard ranges for children of that age so parents can always be up to date with their child’s vitals compared to the average nationwide.

3. Multiple Child Support and Easy Toggling Between Children

patient portal toggle feature

Modeled after recognizable social media applications, parents can intuitively toggle between the profiles of their children. This feature clearly displays which child’s information the parent may be viewing, allowing her to manage her child’s appointments, prescription requests, and medical records with ease.

If you are interested in a customizable, HIPAA-compliant patient portal to match your pediatric needs, Bridge Patient Portal can help. Contact us here or call (866) 838-9455 to learn more.

The Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling

Americans are busier now more than ever, and if healthcare organizations want to keep up, they must adjust their systems to complement the on-the-go lifestyles of their patients. One way practices are staying in step with their patients is by streamlining the process that gets the patients in the door. Many have turned to a patient portal to manage patient appointment requests and send appointment reminders. Below we discuss how employing these two features can confront common appointment challenges and generate more satisfied patients, and, ultimately, more revenue. (more…)

Confronting Caregiver Challenges Could Increase Patient Engagement

According to a study at the Pew Research Center, 39% of Americans provide health care support for a dependent. Of those users, 59% stated that online resources have been very helpful. Physicians on top of trending healthcare information technology know that the key to high patient engagement lies in the effective use of a patient portal. (more…)

What Providers Need to Know About Meaningful Use and Patient Portals

Guest post by Zach Watson, marketing operations analyst at TechnologyAdvice.

patient portalAfter much ado, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposal for the final rules of Meaningful Use Stage 3 earlier this month. Unsurprisingly, the healthcare industry has spent the subsequent weeks sifting through the document to get a better understanding of what the government’s end game is for the program.

After the final rules were released, CMS announced there would be a 60-day period for public feedback on the proposal, so calling it the “final rules” is a bit misleading.

Regardless, there are numerous initiatives to prepare for in Stage 3, as well as significant changes to the criteria for Stage 1 and Stage 2.

The Stage 3 rules are a mixed bag for the application of patient portal software — most of the objectives and their accompanying measures seem quite attainable, but one patient engagement measure in particular could prove a significant challenge for providers.

Here’s what you need to know.

Stage 2 Attestation is Much More Manageable

Much of the analysis regarding Stage 3 has focused on streamlining the program. CMS narrowed the core objective list to 10, and the requirements to attest for Stage 2 have been significantly lightened.

In fact, if a provider hasn’t attested for Stage 1 yet, they can automatically begin participating in Meaningful Use at a modified version of Stage 2 this year. This only requires a 90-day attestation period for 2015, though the following years require that providers attest for a full year.

Additionally, the patient engagement requirements for Stage 2 have been radically altered. The much maligned “View-Download-Transmit” measure requiring five percent of patients to actively engage with their health record has been all but eliminated.

The new rule simply says, “at least one patient during the reporting period” must actively engage with their health information during the reporting period. Similarly, the Stage 2 requirement for secure messaging has essentially been reduced to a yes or no scenario.

All of these changes to Stage 2 indicate that CMS understands the need to move the needle forward in terms of where the majority of providers are in the Meaningful Use program before Stage 3 begins to take full effect in 2017.

It’s intriguing that two of the major changes in the final rule proposal deal with Stage 2 measures that directly relate to patient portal usage. In no uncertain terms, this is a win for eligible providers.

Stage 3 Brings Back Tough Patient Engagement Requirements

The proposed rules for Stage 3 attempt to follow the theme of simplification applied to modifying the Stage 2 rules. But just because something is easily understood doesn’t mean that it’s easily performed.

In terms of patient portals and patient engagement, the most important objective for physicians to examine is the Coordination of Care Through Patient Engagement. As the name implies, this objective focuses on patient engagement, which has nearly always been manifested as a view, transmit, or download threshold in the context of Meaningful Use.

Stage 3 is no different, and this objective comes with three accompanying measures, of which eligible professionals must meet two.

Let’s start with most difficult. Though its teeth were pulled for Stage 2, View-Download-Transmit is back for Stage 3, and this time it’s going to take a whopping 25 percent of patients actively engaging with their health information to meet the threshold. However, there’s also the option of using an API to automatically push this information to another platform in order to meet this goal.

Secondly, the Patient Engagement objective requires 35 percent of patients to receive a secure message during the reporting period. In the past, this would mean that patients had to send the message, but CMS has mercifully included messages sent first from a provider in this measure.

Lastly, patient-generated health data or data from a non-clinical setting must be incorporated into the EHR record for more than 15 percent of patients during the reporting period. An API can also be used to meet this measure instead of tasking patients and providers with manually entering the data.

The addition of APIs is very interesting in the proposal by CMS, but the practicality of this approach — at least in the short term — is questionable.

Developing APIs will be out of reach for many smaller practices because they simply don’t have the resources. This puts the onus clearly on vendors, with an advantage going to standalone patient portals that aren’t tethered to a particular EHR.

These platforms likely have more open architecture and may be in a better position to integrate with multiple EHRs and serve as an all access point for patient records from multiple providers.

Additionally, APIs could significantly reduce the administrative workload of incorporating patient-generated health data — Apple’s HealthKit is a prime example of this technology in action.

The silver lining is that providers can choose two of the three measures in the Patient Engagement objective, skirting the difficult undertaking of driving one out of every four patients to engage with their health records online.

All in all, Stage 3 isn’t overwhelming from a patient portal view, though providers must choose which difficult measure to tackle: View-Download-Transmit, or integrating patient-generated health data.

About the Author: Zach Watson is a marketing operations analyst at TechnologyAdvice. He covers marketing automation, healthcare IT, business intelligence, HR, and other emerging technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Bridge Patient Portal September Product Updates

The Bridge Patient Portal development team just released three new product updates that are aimed at helping you better customize the portal for your patients’ needs. Additionally, the patient portal compatibility is growing. While Bridge Patient Portal has direct interfaces to over 10 EHRs*, including Allscripts™, McKesson and PrognoCIS™, this now includes NextGen®. Learn more about our updates and features below.

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Report: Online Appointment Scheduling Poised for Major Growth

Providing patients with online appointment scheduling can deliver significant cost benefits and improve operational efficiencies for healthcare organizations. It also has the potential to improve customer satisfaction, as patients value tools that allow them to streamline different aspects of their daily lives. Despite this, few health organizations currently provide online scheduling – but this could changing and fast.

According to a report released by healthcare consulting firm Accenture, 66 percent of health systems will offer online appointment scheduling by 2019, and it will be used by nearly 65 percent of patients. This is expected to save the healthcare industry about $3.2 billion annually.

The need to remain competitive in the highly volatile healthcare market is one reason that online scheduling is set to take off. Not only do patients want online scheduling, but the addition of this type of value-added service is enough to significantly differentiate a hospital or practice from its competitors.

Consider, for example, that scheduling a doctor’s appointment online takes about one minute versus eight minutes over the phone. Taking this into account, it makes sense that more than 63 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 prefer self-scheduling. Consumers already use online tools to perform all types of tasks more efficiently (e.g. online banking and purchases), and they want this same convenience when it comes to healthcare.

The Patient Portal’s Role in Online Scheduling

Online Appointment SchedulingApproximately 40 percent of the top 100 health systems in the U.S. currently offer some type of online appointment scheduling. As organizations adopt better technologies that make self-scheduling easier, both for patients and staff, this number will continue to grow. Patient portals offer the tools necessary to simplify the scheduling process – however, not all portals provide the same advanced capabilities.

Bridge Patient Portal organizes providers’ appointments on a user-friendly platform that allows patients to select their doctor and preferred visit time from a list of available appointment slots. Providers can establish the types of appointments that patients are allowed to schedule, and they can even prompt patients to fill out Intake and Health Risk Assessment forms online to save time. Multiple setup configurations are available so that organizations can choose what happens once a patient appointment request is received.

Interested in implementing online appointment scheduling software? Contact us!

Automating the Prescription Refill Request Workflow Process

Improving processes within a healthcare organization is a top priority for most practice managers and hospital administrators these days. With patients calling in to schedule appointments, request prescription refills and find out test results, office staff members have a lot on their plate. Attending to refill requests alone can occupy hours of time each week. It’s a process that requires the full and immediate attention of staff members, as they must stop whatever work they are doing in order to attend to and verify the patient refill request.

prescription refill requestOne solution to alleviate this issue is to automate the refill request process. With Bridge Patient Portal’s Prescription Refill Request feature, patients can request a refill at any time online, and office staff can respond without interruption.

This simple, time-saving feature automatically populates the patient’s information within the fields when a patient requests a refill and sends it to the provider to take action.

To request a prescription refill, all the patient has to do is:

  • Select their physician from the list of doctors.
  • Select the medication to be prescribed.
  • Enter the medication frequency.
  • Add additional comments, if necessary.
  • Enter their pharmacy information.
  • Submit the refill request.

Once the refill request is submitted, notification is automatically sent to the office staff or physician through the physician portal where it can be verified and approved.

If interfaced with an EHR system, the notification is sent directly to that system without the need to go into the physician portal. In either case, the patient’s pharmacy will receive the refill request via the Scripts notification from the physician. Notification of the approved refill can be sent to the patient via the patient portal either by email or text message.

What makes the Prescription Refill Request feature attractive to both patients and providers is that the workflow process is streamlined and can take place without the patient having to call in to the physician’s office. This feature makes for a convenient, time-saving, and better overall patient experience.

This article was originally published on the Medical Web Experts blog.

The Patient Portal and Online Bill Pay

Online bill pay is a great reason for healthcare practices and hospitals to adopt a patient portal. A convenient alternative to having your billing department mail paper statements and make phone calls to patients, online bill pay allows you to get paid faster by collecting payments online. It is easy for patients to use and automates the billing process for your staff.

online bill pay screenshot

External website forms

Our external online bill pay form is a secure form that is installed on your website. It enables patients to pay their bill online without having to create a patient portal account or log in.

Convenient for patients

Online bill pay is a very convenient feature for patients. Most patients are used to banking and shopping online and welcome the idea of paying their medical bills online.

Integrate with your current card processing account

Bridge integrates with almost all credit card processing companies. If you don’t already have one, let us help you get one setup and integrated into the patient portal.

Secure and PCI Compliant

Security is a big concern these days and its becoming increasingly common for medical practices to be forced to online bill pay. Bridge is PCI compliant and uses advanced encryption technology to ensure your patients’ information is kept safe.

Is Your Healthcare Organization Ready to Use eConsultations?

With goods and services increasingly moving online, healthcare organizations are beginning to adopt supporting technologies to help improve patient experiences and treatment outcomes. Telehealth and patient portal technologies are two of the solutions that are getting more use among healthcare providers – and they have opened up the door to eConsultations.

A patient portal is the bridge between physicians and patients, and an eConsultation is the vehicle that transports individuals across. eConsultation features allows practices to generate revenue for messages and online video consults. It is similar in function to the messaging module in a patient portal, but it can require payment, either before the visit or once the communication is complete.

Bridge Patient Portal offers three simple forms of communication within the eConsultations module, allowing patients to schedule the following types of appointments:

  1. Email: Communication can only be initiated by the physician or office staff, but patients can respond. All conversations stay within the confines of the portal.
  2. Telephone call: All the patient has to do is select a date and time for the appointment and provide a phone number where they can be reached for the call.
  3. Video Conferencing: As long as both the patient and physician have a webcam and an Internet connection, they can meet virtually and communicate in real-time.

Once the patient submits their eConsultation request, the provider will receive an email notification so that they can answer the secure email eConsultation, schedule a live video chat, or schedule a phone call.

Each provider can set an eConsultation rate for each type of communication, meaning they can charge per consult or at an hourly or per-minute rate. Providers can set up a pre-pay credit system for patients to use towards eConsultations; and they can also offer one a set number of free eConsultations per month with a patient’s access fee. Depending on the practice’s preference, the patient’s credit card information on file can be billed before or after the eConsultation.

What makes eConsultations attractive to both patients and providers?

With eConsultations, treatment and communication can take place without the patient physically being in the examination room. This makes for a convenient and time-saving healthcare experience, resulting in better treatment outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

This article was originally published on the Medical Web Experts blog.

Three Must-Have Patient Portal Features

Healthcare organizations have different needs and look for varying patient portal features and functionalities. Still, there are many features that provide real value all-around – both in terms of patient satisfaction and in their ability to help physicians streamline workflow and save time.

These are the top three patient portal features that get the best responses from doctors.

1. Appointment Reminders

Appointment reminders have been shown to reduce no-shows by 30 percent. However, the problem for many healthcare organizations is that making phone calls and mailing appointment reminders is labor intensive. With patient portals, this is all changing. By setting an auto-reminder feature, patients can receive an email or SMS text about their upcoming appointment. This doesn’t require office staff intervention, and it minimizes loss of revenue to the practice.

2. Intake Forms

Intake forms have become the most popular feature within the patient portal. Physicians and staff love this feature because patients are able to fill the forms out online, and the data is then saved automatically (as PDF files or as structured data) within the patient’s health record section of the portal and in the EMR. Online intake forms save time for patients, but they also reduce processing times for office staff, as there are no records to copy or data to transfer into the organization’s EMR. Practices and hospitals that utilize a patient portal will eventually have intake forms (if they don’t already).

3. eConsultations

econsultationIn addition to using the patient portal to schedule appointments with their physicians online, patients are able to use the portal to communicate via email, phone or even video conferencing. With telemedicine services becoming more widely adopted, physicians are beginning to appreciate the flexibility of scheduling eConsultations. This type of appointment is more cost-effective and saves time. Plus, it gives physicians and patients the ability to consult from the comfort of their own home, making for a more comfortable experience.

There are additional patient portal features such as secure messaging, prescription refills, and test results that can be a benefit to any practice. Before installing a patient portal, make sure you have a good understanding of your practice’s needs and of the features that your patients want and would actually use.

Does your healthcare organization have a patient portal, or are you looking to implement one in the future? Tell us what features you think would be useful to have.

This article was originally published on the MWE blog.

Image source.

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