GA-HITEC Providers Discuss Patient Electronic Access Engagement Strategies

Dr. J. White Discusses Patient Portal Implementation

Edited by: Sherilyn A. Francis

White’s Pediatrics began implementing patient portals in 2011.

Initially adoption of the patient portal was met with extreme resistance. Many of the patients refused to provide their email address because they felt we were infringing upon their personal space and compliance was minimal. In order to overcome the apprehension of the patient our staff worked to educate our patients about patient portal; and for those whodid not have an email address we had staff members go to YAHOO or Gmail and assist them in creating an email account. We worked tirelessly to ensure that every patient had enrolled in the patient portal.

Shortly after successfully getting all patients to enroll, we noticed that the patients had created patient portal accounts but they never logged onto the patient portal in order to verify their account. Early in the implementation process we recognized two important factors which compromised patient portal engagement.

(1) The patient had not seen the benefits of using the patient portal.
(2) Although many of our patients had smartphones, they would often experience interruptions in online access due to demographic disparities that are often experience by those on the wrong said of the digital divide.

To address factor one, all members of the White’s Pediatric staff spoke a common language; the patient received the same message from the front desk, the nurses, and the providers. For example, if a patient said “I waited so long on the phone to make an appointment.” Our staff would remind them of the ability to schedule appointments using the patient portal. If came into the office for a prescription refill, we would remind them that chronic prescription refills requests may be made through the patient portal. We wanted the patients to recognize the benefits as it relates to their needs.

To address access, we placed a kiosk in the waiting area. The kiosk in the waiting area allowed for on the spot account verification and it permitted the patients to navigate through the patient portal with assistance from the staff as needed.

Our goal, at White’s Pediatrics, is to provide each person with the best patient portal experience to meet the individual needs.

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