Many practice management systems now offer a Patient Portal as a key feature, and the terminology has become well and truly embedded in the clinical and dental sectors. But what does it actually mean? What is a Patient Portal and how might it actually help you in the day to day operation of your practice?
Put simply, a Patient Portal is a secure digital entry point for any of your patients to access your practice online. This might be through an App on their phone, tablet or computer, or just through an online login that is protected with a password.
The benefit of this for patients is the huge convenience in being able to get information and perform key functions without having to call the practice or work around your opening hours.
The benefit for you is not just in meeting patient needs for flexible access, but in reducing time spent on the phone at reception, creating an audit trail of interactions, and automating the initial elements of the patient journey.
The real power of the Patient Portal, and the real benefits that it will bring to your business, depend on the level of functionality that is offered.
- The best solutions are cloud based - offering not just online-anytime access to patients, but also to your team at the back end to respond to events as they arise and tailor your Portal offering in real-time.
- Appointment booking that integrates directly with your wider system and shows real-time availability should be a given for any Portal, but online payment processing to allow deposits to be taken for online appointments to reduce FTA rates and add real value to online bookings.
- Online payments should not be restricted to appointment bookings, but work across all treatments and any other bills arising from the Practice. Tools such as Stripe and GoCardless should be integrated to allow your patients to pay or pre-pay remotely, with full audit trail and integration to your Practice Management solution.
- Advanced features of the most powerful Patient Portal solutions should include the ability to securely send, review and sign medical histories, treatment plans and patient consents. The best Patient Portals allow all of this to be done online, paperlessly and with a full audit trail in place. This gives you the opportunity to present a range of treatment options to your patients; allows them the time to fully consider them; and offers real scope for upselling and on-selling comprehensive solutions.
- The most modern Patient Portal solutions, such as AeronaClinic, also allow for video consultation to be delivered direct between patient and practitioner. This offers a hugely increased scope for pre and and post treatment care, emergency triaging, patient education and training around oral health. These are not just additional revenue streams but also support patient recruitment and retention across your practice.
All of these benefits are in addition to the simple convenience of patients being able to update their own contact and payment details quickly and easily; and the real power that comes from the development of a trusted digital relationship between Practice and patient.
Once you have regular seamless contact through your Patient Portal, you have opened up a powerful channel to engage your patient directly and target very specific product and marketing offers to them.
Correct use of your Patient Portal drives patient retention and yield across your practice; saves you time and money; and reduces physical contact across the patient journey. A good quality Patient Portal is not just an attractive addition to your Practice Management solution, it is a real engine for growth and development in your business.
Find out more about the AeronaClinic Patient Portal today!