It has been found that people who engage with healthcare providers through online patient portals benefit from improved health outcomes. Researchers at The University of Texas partnered with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas to study the patient portal logs for 3,266 patients with congestive heart failure over 12 years.
Multiple benefits of patient portals for patients were discovered throughout the study. Patient health outcomes were improved in several ways after the continued use of a patient portal. Patients who effectively used a portal were 2-4% less likely to be hospitalized. Those who engaged with the portal were 3.2% less likely to visit the emergency room. The average length of stay after being hospitalized decreased by 11%. Readmission rates were about 2% lower among users of patient portals compared to those who did not make use of a patient portal.
During the study, researchers noted which portal features were most frequently used by the patients. Below we summarize how certain patient portal features result in reduced inpatient visits, 30-day readmission rate, ER visits, and the average length of stay.
Lab results and medical history
Lab results can be automatically uploaded to the patient portal from the EHR or lab. A patient can be notified by an alert when their test results are available. Access to lab results and medical history improves the accuracy of patient health information as providers can update the info as soon as anything changes. Access to these features allows for ease of access for providers to patient medication history, lab results, and health summary. These features provide accurate and comprehensive information for both patients and providers. This leads to many benefits of patient portals in healthcare as providers can gain valuable insight into the patient’s overall health. Providers are able to determine the level of adherence to a medical regimen and care plans in order to work with the patient to make improvements.
A secure HIPAA-compliant messaging platform allows patients to communicate with health providers and vice versa. Patients get a notification when a new message is waiting for them. Providers can respond to incoming messages through the patient portal, or directly from their EHR using an interface. Secure messaging improves communication between patients and providers. This increase in communication improves care coordination and allows for shared decision making. Patients are able to provide their healthcare providers with updates regarding their health, which allows both parties to monitor disease progression.
Prescription refill request and appointment scheduling
Patient self-scheduling software allows patients to book appointments at their own convenience. Self-scheduling allows patients to select their doctor and preferred visit time from a list of available appointment slots. Appointment scheduling improves visit adherence and reduces no-show rates. Prescription refill requests allow the patient to order a refill of their medication through the patient portal. This feature within a patient portal benefits adherence to a medication regimen. Both features increase patient satisfaction and self-efficacy.
Healthcare organizations should consider increasing patient engagement through access to the patient portal in order to increase patient outcomes by decreasing inpatient visits, readmission rate, ER visits, and the average length of stay.
Westmed Medical Group, a client of patient engagement software vendor Bridge Patient Portal, has been recognized by eHealthcare Leadership Awards for their healthcare patient portal and mobile app in the category of Best Patient Access & Convenience in a Medical Practice/Outpatient Facility.
Bridge Patient Portal, a healthcare patient portal and patient engagement software vendor, is announcing that their client Westmed Medical Group, a large New York-based multi-specialty group medical practice, has been presented with an eHealthcare Leadership Award for Best Patient Access & Convenience in a Medical Practice/Outpatient Facility. This award recognizes web and mobile solutions that are both comprehensive and easy to use/access.
Westmed is known nationally as a highly innovative healthcare organization that leverages technology to deliver a premium level of patient care. In 2017, Westmed implemented Bridge’s patient engagement solution, comprised of a Westmed-branded patient portal and mobile app. “The goal was to provide a rich patient portal experience, then extend that same experience and functionality to a Westmed-branded patient portal mobile app,” explains John Deutsch, founder and CEO of Bridge Patient Portal. “Surprisingly, in healthcare, offering a consistent experience between a healthcare organization’s patient portal and mobile app is very uncommon. It is even less common for both solutions to be branded to the healthcare organization.”
The Bridge patient engagement solution works and interfaces with most Electronic Health Record and Revenue Cycle Management softwares. In the case of Westmed, Bridge integrated with the Centricity Business and EMR solutions that Westmed was already using.
The patient portal mobile app also offers additional features commonly found in healthcare mobile apps, such as provider search, location search, urgent care wait times, and news. Convenience is further boosted by self-service portal registration and username/password resets, thanks to Bridge’s two-factor, SMS-based authentication feature. The rich patient portal functionality found in the mobile app significantly increases the solution’s usage as a whole, which is only made possible by offering all of self-service patient portal functionality in a single mobile app.
The Bridge patient engagement for hospitals does far more than put medical records online for patients – it offers a wealth of features, including:
Personal health records (ie. labs, medications, conditions, and more)
Online bill pay
Custom, integrated patient forms
Prescription refill requests
Patient self-registration with two-factor authentication
Email, SMS and mobile push notifications/reminders
Marketing & recall messaging
Urgent care wait times
Users can download the app in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store here:
Founded in 2012, Bridge Patient Portal is an enterprise patient portal and patient engagement for hospitals solution that provides a superior user experience for healthcare organizations and their patients. It is ideal for organizations seeking to replace their existing EHR software’s patient portal, connect disparate EHR environments with a single patient portal, and/or consolidate costly patient engagement tools with a single patient engagement solution. Bridge truly engages patients with automated electronic communication and meaningful, multi-platform access to health, financial, and appointment information. With Bridge’s all-in-one patient engagement solution, healthcare organizations can safely achieve greater levels of patient engagement.
About Westmed Medical Group
Westmed Medical Group is an award-winning multi-specialty medical practice, staffed by a team of 500 top physicians and advanced care providers, and 1,500 clinical employees, who are all dedicated to providing patients with comprehensive, lifelong care. The practice has 13 locations in Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT, and is known for the convenience of its full-service medical facilities, and national reputation for measured healthcare excellence. Westmed has New York medical offices in White Plains, Rye, Yonkers, Purchase, Scarsdale, and New Rochelle, with Connecticut offices in Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and Norwalk.
Improving processes within a healthcare organization is a top priority for most practice managers and hospital administrators these days. With patients calling into 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’s refill request.
One 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.