By Andrei Klubnikin, content management team lead, ITRex.
Although the amount of US healthcare organizations that utilize patient portal software increased from 32% in 2014 to 90% in early 2019, less than a quarter of patients are willing to use the tools to schedule an appointment with a physician, view medical data and get tips for chronic disease self-management.
Patients’ ambivalence towards the technology can be largely attributed to healthcare data interoperability issues and administrative barriers to obtaining access to medical records. Furthermore, most patients still live under the paradigm of encounter-based medicine and perceive medical portals as useful only around the time of a physician office visit.
In an attempt to boost patient portal engagement and usage, medical professionals add multiple functions to healthcare software solutions. In this article, we will review patient portal features essential to engage the target audience and provide approximate patient portal development cost estimates.
Must-have Patient Portal Features as Reported by Healthcare Providers
In a nutshell, a patient portal is the user-facing component of an electronic health record (EHR) solution, which is intended to simplify patients’ access to medical data — i.e., physician notes, laboratory results, billing information, — and drive patient participation.
According to CHiME 2018 Healthcare’s Most Wired survey, the majority of healthcare facilities — with the exception of rural and critical access hospitals — have already incorporated robust communication, mobile and convenience capabilities into patient portal software. The reported enhancements include live chat enabling patients to directly contact care team and billing staff, automatic prescription refills, appointment scheduling and personal health data management. Additionally, 90% of respondents offer some form of telehealth services and take the device-agnostic approach to portal design to improve user experience on mobile devices.