The Pros and Cons of Patient Portals in Healthcare

Health IT systems are dramatically changing the way patients interact with healthcare administrations. Anyone who has ever received medical care or had to sort out health insurance matters knows that anything involving healthcare can be a laborious process for all parties. Primarily, the paperwork aspect alone is a large part of what makes the process very slow. Going digital on these processes has made things much quicker in terms of transmission of information and being able to acquire accurate information as well. That’s not the only aspect that’s different, though. Let’s take a look at some ways Health IT is changing the patient experience in clinics and healthcare administrations.

Allowing for Online Appointments and Scheduling

One of the most frustrating customer service experiences is calling an organization only to be placed on hold for a lengthy period of time. When it comes to trying to set up an appointment or scheduling a service, if it feels as if there is a barrier to offering your valuable business to an organization then the experience quickly becomes frustrating. This is because, naturally, most businesses want to make it as easy as possible to receive your patronage.

Being able to schedule appointments online and see all of your clinical data is now an integral part of receiving care. While these quality of life changes are not incredibly important to the elderly, it becomes more important as age skews younger. However, the patient experience for the younger audience is shifting dramatically. Gen X’ers and Millennials can recall the experience of going to the doctor’s office when they were minors to be markedly different than how things proceed for them as adults. This is largely due to Health IT systems coupled with an increased demand for healthcare.

Patient Portals Allow For Better Clinical Interactions

As healthcare demands increase, doctors are seeing more patients than ever—but more than that, we live in an era where stricter guidelines and data privacy laws create an understandable but highly pressurized experience to log that data. This has largely been a huge factor in delivering good clinical care and having a quality doctor-patient relationship. Many people report feeling or having felt rushed or neglected by their general practitioner. This is largely a consequence of too much red tape surrounding paperwork and not enough time left for dealing with actual patients and giving them the time of day they deserve. It isn’t the fault of your doctor (in most cases) but the demands of the system.

This is all the more reason why outsourcing your medical billing and coding needs can greatly enhance the quality of interactions in your practice or administration. With more time freed up from not having to deal with paperwork, your office staff can devote their efforts to the things that really matter.

This point is a complex one. Currently, it would be somewhat false to say that patient portals make the experience more efficient for doctors. They do defer administrative burden for the patients that do bother to look online and answer their own questions. However, the real reason why patient portals improve clinical interactions (for those who use them) is that with access to lab results, history of results and care, patients are able to come in better prepared for the meager time they are afforded during one-on-one examinations. In other words, better access to data as well as any notes your doctor may have on that care allows patients to be more proactive about their own care.

There are many other benefits to using patient portals such as cost-effectiveness, however, you might be wondering what the cons are.

Patient Portals are Isolated

There’s really only one major con as it pertains to clinical efficiency and saving time for your staff. It’s that patient portals are not connected. Because of the increase in demand for Health IT technology is increasing rapidly, there are many portal solutions that have no communication with one another.

This is certainly changing, but in the meantime, there is a lack of centralization for the many clinics and administrations that have not implemented the requisite technology to prevent duplicate data. Interoperability is an important component of any software that deals with data. If the avenues to which it can transmit data to are limited, so too is the usefulness of the software in certain situations.

As a result, the benefits mostly stand on the patient side of things by offering features that are convenient, such as scheduling and clinical information. On the administration end, you only have access to information that is yours—which makes them more of a logging tool than a database.

Virtual Office Support For Healthcare

The theme of this post is really highlighting how much of a squeeze that clinics and healthcare administrations face in regards to paperwork and administrative functions. Private practices are especially vulnerable because they lack support from a greater infrastructure.

The Psych Biller knows this landscape all too well, we offer remote medical billing as well as virtual office support for practices that need room to breathe. At the end of the day, providing quality healthcare is the number one priority for most clinics. Not only does this give a better service for patients, but it’s the best way to grow your practice.

Contact The Psych Biller today to outsource your administrative needs!

2020-05-01T20:44:44+00:00 February 15th, 2020|