In the past I have provided my readers with some standard industry practices to entice patients to utilize online communications with their doctors and staff on a secure patient portal. Just in case this is the first post you have seen, here is a quick recap on my tips for patient engagement:
Start the Conversation - Send the patient a message first on the portal
Doctor Knows Best - Doctors should tell patients to register for the portal
Reduce the Phone Calls - Use the phone system to drive patients to the portal
While They are in the Waiting Room - Use brochures and posters as a way to get the patients thinking about the portal.
For this post I want to go back to the waiting room. Last time I went there, I talked about some pretty passive methods to engage patients by about using posters and brochures. If an elligible provider's secure messaging numbers are still low, the time for more agressive action is now. I am suggesting that while the patient is in the waiting room, a staff member actively engages patients to sign them up for the portal.
From an operational stand point, it can be any staff member or a new hire who is tasked with sitting in the waiting room and working with patients. The only requirement a staff member needs is a strong understanding of how the portal works, and more specifically, an expert knowledge on the onboarding process for patients.
If a staff member cannot be spared or a new employee hired for this task, then investigate a kiosk or tablet/laptop for the patient to use to sign up for the portal. This will allow the patient to complete the process on their own and it will give the staff an opportunity to support them right then and there if an issue arrises in the registration process.
Whether a staff member or a kiosk is utilized to sign the patients up in the waiting room, take whatever steps necessary to ensure that Meaningful Use objectives are achieved.