Patient requirements are continually evolving as patients are beginning to request more control over their care than ever before. Both Medicare reform, and the MACRA reporting procedure, are placing new requirements on practices to deliver patient engagement, pushing practices to prioritize value-based care.
There are several digital interactive tools that can help to achieve optimal patient engagement levels, from automated scheduling, to online patient information resources, and appointment reminders. The long-term advantages of these tools are significant and lead to improved patient engagement, as well as financial benefits, and improved healthcare outcomes.
Last year, The Harris Poll showed that six in ten patients say they don’t have online access to their medical records, but rate it as important. Practices with patient portals can help to empower patients by giving them instant access to their health information online. Patient portals can also provide useful resources to educate patients about illnesses and conditions. By giving patients this access, they become better equipped to manage their health and become more engaged with their healthcare, which can help them to better understand and adhere to treatment plans.
Patient portals, such as those offered by 1st Providers Choice, include scheduling features which facilitate the process of booking appointments for patients. Not only does simplifying this process help with patient satisfaction, but it may also encourage patients to book in with their physician if they’ve discovered new symptoms, which can help with early diagnosis. As well as ease of access to appointments, patient portals offer the patient the ability to enter their data ahead of time, saving time at the clinic for both the patient and the provider. The system can also offer user participation in follow-up surveys, which gives valuable insight into patient views and perceived care standards.
Electronic Health Record Software
Another digital tool that is becoming more important for physicians is the Electronic Health Record (EHR). This type of record helps patients avoid the need to carry their paper records with them when they move from place to place, as their EHR can be accessed by multiple healthcare providers and will travel with them. EHRs also encourage multi-directional communication and sharing across a patient’s care spectrum. 1st Providers Choice offers user-friendly EHR software, incorporating tools to help streamline administrative burdens.
Benefits to Doctors
As well as helping deliver on patient engagement, interactive digital tools greatly benefit doctors. In a financial sense, MACRA has several criteria that require doctors to focus on patient engagement. For example, physicians who participate in supplying patient-specific educational materials earn a 4% positive Medicare payment adjustment, whilst those who do not participate incur a -4% Medicare payment adjustment. For more guidance on MACRA visit the American Academy of Family Physicians website.
As well as financial benefits, from a medical perspective, implementing patient healthcare tools and delivering on patient engagement will help improve the practice and it’s reputation. It can also help develop loyalty, with healthy, happy patients.
With industry standards focussing on value-based care, interactive tools are becoming a necessity for practices. New software such as patient portals, patient applications and EHR software helps efficiency, and long-term patient engagement. For best results, practices should look to integrating several online processes for patients.