In today’s digital world, patients want to be able to interact with their healthcare providers online as well as in person. From communicating with the provider to scheduling appointments and paying bills, convenience and access are becoming priorities for consumers, including consumers of healthcare. Independent physicians can better meet patient demand and, as a result, improve the sustainability of their practice, by providing the digital tools their patients need and want.
Electronic health records (EHRs) enable both physician and patient to view the patient’s medical information with just a few clicks on a user-friendly screen. Patients who have access to their own medical data tend to take a more active role in managing their own healthcare. A patient portal gives patients the information they need about visit summaries, lab results, specialty provider visit notes, medications, and reports, to view for themselves or to share with other providers.
EHRs also provide patients with a convenient communication tool for asking questions of the independent physician or requesting additional information about appointments, referrals, prescriptions and refills, labs or other test results. Patients can send and review messages online on their own schedule, instead of having to wait for office hours to make a phone call and then potentially have to wait for a call back from the provider.
Today, independent physicians need an additional online presence through a website and social media. These tools enable the patient to review current information and news about the practice and enable the practice to provide helpful tips and updates in real time. As Physicians Practice suggests, “Using your site as a reference tool allows you to refer patients to the site to ‘self serve’ rather than use time and resources within your practice to educate patients.”
When patients have electronic access to practice information, their own medical records, appointment scheduling tools, and communication options, their in-person interactions with the independent physician become more efficient and effective. As a result, your independent practice is better able to meet your patient demand.