HIPAA Compliant Patient Engagement: A Guide to Getting Started

Over the past decade, patient portals have opened new doors for doctors to communicate with patients and engage them in their own care. In fact, 90% of healthcare organizations now offer EHR portal access, according to a poll by the Medical Group Management Association. Despite these high numbers, a 2017 ONC data brief found that almost 50% of patients were not using their portals to access medical records. 

The reason? Traditional portals are clunky, outdated and fail to actually engage patients. As a result, many healthcare practices see the need for increasing other, more effective methods of communication between doctor and patient, but they struggle with implementing a comprehensive patient engagement strategy.   

At Updox, we believe healthcare providers are the quarterbacks of effective patient care, and it’s our job to help you develop an effective game plan for patient engagement. That process starts with evaluating needs – seeing what’s working and what’s not – so that your practice can best reach patients in the ways they want to be communicated with. 

So, before putting a new patient engagement strategy into action, consider these four questions to evaluate your needs and get started:

1. How am I currently communicating with my patients? 

Engaging effectively with your patients means meeting their needs, in a highly personalized way.. Your patient engagement solution must allow for secure two-way communications, quick remote check-ins and options for underserved rural patients.

2. How are my patients sharing their medical data with me?

82% of patients are open to sharing their medical data with physicians. Yet, most providers only accept hard copies or faxes. As the world goes digital, it is important for practices to take forms, payments and scheduling processes online, which will save patients time and energy and provide added security and privacy, if using a HIPAA-compliant solution.

3. Are my patient engagement tools user-friendly? 

Your platform must be easy to navigate and free of inconvenient barriers to communication. Beware of some patient portals that require patients to download additional apps or create new accounts – with logins which can be easily forgotten or lost.

4. Are my patients receiving a personalized experience? 

Beyond quality of service, convenience and cost-efficiency, a personal relationship between providers and their patients will determine whether patients come back or search elsewhere for healthcare services. When evaluating your patient engagement strategy, make sure that it is catered to the needs of each individual patient. It should offer personalized reminders and options to have face-to-face communication without the long treks to the office.

One thing we know is that increasing patient engagement requires a comprehensive, collaborative platform that utilizes multiple technologies to educate and engage patients. 

For quick guide to successfully reaching today’s healthcare consumers, download our Patient Engagement Playbook.

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