So, do you start a secure patient portal to get over the 5% mark in order to qualify for the Meaningful Use money? I think that is the wrong way to look at implementing patient portals, not that I am opposed to Meaningful Use, if it works for your office. I think one should start the portal because it makes sense.
I will walk you through both scenarios when a patient requests a prescription refill, the old fashioned way first.
He calls the office and my front office greeter will ring back to my nurse, who is tied up rooming a patient, and the request goes to voice mail. When my nurse 45 minutes later has time to listen to all 7 messages, write them out, type a message and send to me electronically, I then will get the message and take care of it. Mean while the patient was on the phone, waiting for my nurse, then eventually gets to talk to the voice message to leave a message.
Now with the portal, he sends a message which immediately pops up on my nurses’ Updox inbox on her right handed dual monitor. She copies and pastes and sends to my inbox in the EHR, I then take care of it.
Medical legally, logistically and for patient satisfaction, the patient portal revolutionizes how the office functions. No burden to front office greeter, the patient gets a quicker response, generally, and if so inclined, you will likely get your Meaningful Use money, because your nurse will be the best advocate to get the portal started, because it makes her life simpler.
Reprinted with permission. Follow Dr. Legan on twitter or read his blog. Learn more about how Dr. Legan uses his Updox patient portal to improve patient care at http://health.usnews.com/