Why Engage? Learning Objectives. Meaningful Use requires that patients are actively using portal technology.







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Using a Patient Portal to

Improve Patient Engagement

Tiffani Mauro, MAS, CMPE October 13, 2015

Learning Objectives

Utilize your patient portal to effectively engage patients.

Discover tools and techniques to increase your practice’s portal registration.

Demonstrate improved workflows, patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction

through the use of a patient portal.

Why Engage?

Meaningful Use requires that patients are

actively using portal technology.

Stage 2 For Eligible Professionals:

“More than 5 percent of all unique patients seen by the eligible professional during the EHR reporting period (or their authorized representatives) view, download or transmit to a third party their health information.”


Why Engage?

• Patients say they'd be more engaged in their care if they received access to medical information online (56 percent of those ages 55 to 64, and 46 percent of those ages 65 or older).

•Those ages 55 to 64 accounted for the highest percentage (83 percent) of Americans who say they already do or would communicate with healthcare providers via a patient portal. •Some 70 percent of Boomers say they do or would schedule appointments; 64 percent access/review medical records/test results; 60 percent ask their physicians questions; 58 percent order prescription refills, and 40 percent request a referral.

-Xerox Survey, 2014

Patients want electronic access!

Why Engage?

Patients actively involved in their healthcare tend

to have better outcomes and may lower costs.

-Health Affairs, February 2013

Why is a portal the right tool for engagement??







A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an Internet connection. Using a secure username and password, patients can view health information.








A patient portal often interfaces with the physician office’s E H R and can assist in streamlining access workflows, improving efficiency and communication; and increasing patient/ staff satisfaction.


Why is a portal the right tool for engagement??


• Access • Patient Satisfaction • Workflow Efficiency • Planned processes


• Dropped/missed phone calls • Overtime • Employee Burnout • Mismatched demand vs capacity R ev enu es Ex p ense s

3 Stages of Patient Portal Project


Internal Focus External Focus Success!


Internal Focus

Develop patient engagement strategy

Plan project scope and timeline

Recruit champions at all levels

Develop workflows and protocols

Train, test, implement


Internal Focus

Develop Patient Engagement Strategy

Create a vision statement that describes what your final strategy will look like.

Determine what technology, tools and internal knowledge are needed.

Collaborate with Patients

The phones are not ringing, no one is on hold, prescriptions are filled timely, staff work is planned, staff goes home on time with all work done, patients

receive communication when they need and want it.


Patient portal that is interfaced with practice management and EHR

Focus groups, surveys: schedule appointments, access medical records, refill medications, ask questions

What if…….

-No rules, everything goes -Create your fantasy land!

Internal Focus

Recruit champions at all levels

Communicate the benefits of patient engagement ---often!

Staff are valued and critical to patient engagement---always! Technology does not replace staff!

Train and engage super users


This is an opportunity to improve care delivery, patient experiences, see more patients, increase revenues and take on new responsibilities


Internal Focus

Develop workflows and protocols


Pa ti en t sen ds mes sag e







Schedule appointment Call Center Contacts patient to set appropriate appt

Refill Medication Medical Assistant

1. Confirm with MD 2. Request to pharmacy 3. Contact patient to confirm action

Has a question about their

upcoming procedure Nurse

Contact patient, forward approved patient education materials

Internal Focus

 Train & test

Staff workflows

Timely communication standards Empathetic response skills Patient workflows Browser Performance


 Implement


External Focus

Focus groups, surveys, rounding

Build awareness using marketing tools

Enroll, engage


External Focus

Focus groups, surveys, rounding

Discover what features are important to your patients How will they access a portal (PC, smartphone, app) What is their browser choice

What do they like/dislike about portals they are using now? Is there a barrier or concern to using a patient portal? Would they be willing to test the product and provide feedback?


External Focus


Focus Groups

• Invite participants • Consider incentives • Confidentiality waivers • 5-6 questions • Refreshments


• Secure email • Snail mail • 5-6 questions • Consider incentives for responses


• Talk to patients while

they are waiting in lobby or exam rooms • 5-6 questions listed in

priority order

External Focus

Build awareness using marketing strategy and tools

Place posters/fliers in all patient areas announcing the patient portal Distribute fliers

All staff should be talking about the portal!

If a patient complains about long hold times, staff explain portal as a solution Mail postcards to existing patients

Link the portal access to your website, announce in a prominent area Use social media announcements to build anticipation



External Focus


Test the enrollment process and write down all the steps involved. Create a “Quick Reference” card for staff and patients!

Train all levels of staff how to enroll a patient, creating multiple layers of advocates! Use a staffer as a liaison to enroll patients onsite and give a “tour”

One-on-one interaction can boost the success of your enrollment. Set enrollment goals for the organization, departments and individuals Help download apps if applicable

Make enrollment part of the registration process for new patients


Your patient portal is a win-win solution for

complaints AND staff empowerment

Do patients get hung up in your phone tree or placed on lengthy hold?

Allow staff to offer your patient portal as a solution to a time consuming phone process

“Avoid telephone hold times by using our new portal to schedule

your appointment, ask a question or pay a bill!”

External Focus


Once patients have completed enrollment, send them a “welcome” message Set internal standards for message response times.

Respond timely per those standards.

Plan staff schedules so that personnel have a block of time in the morning and afternoon each day to respond to messages.

Respond to concerns quickly! Ask for patient feedback!!!!





Partner with your patients

Create a culture of communication

Teach empathic writing

Update positions, job descriptions and performance reviews

Embrace technology!


Empathetic writing

Empathetic writing involves, listening, engaging and responding with feeling to all concerns, opening the door for additional communication.


Patient writes:

How am I supposed to shower if I’m not allowed out of my brace? I can’t fully put weight on my leg because of my shin pain. My calf is tight (constant pulling or stretching feeling) when I do ankle pumps. Is that normal?

Staff Response:

Good Morning David, the best way to shower after this type of surgery is to have a small chair or stool set up in your shower. This way you won’t have to stand for extended periods and you’ll be at less risk of falling. The tightness in the calf is very normal with the amount of swelling associated with this surgery. Please continue to ice elevate and do the exercises explained to you upon discharge. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know Have a great day!---Nurse Sarah



Embrace Technology as Part of your Patient

Engagement Strategy

 Technology is here to stay, while today’s patient portals are still somewhat “basic” it builds a foundation for technological advances in patient access.

 Educate staff on empathetic writing, planned workflows and the significance of timely responses  Provide tools and helpful phrases for staff to use in common situations.


Influence of Social Media on Communication

 Social media has cultivated an online community of people that not only provide important information, but also express care and support to those involved.  We are starting to see that the internet is widely used to contact and engage in

conversation with our patients who are not currently geographically near us.  Patients are able to self-disclose more online than generally during a face to face



 Develop Patient Engagement Strategy  Plan project scope and timeline  Recruit Champions at all levels  Develop workflows and protocols  Train, Test, and Implement


 Focus groups, surveys, rounding  Build awareness using marketing  Enroll, engage  Ask for feedback


 Partner with your patients  Create a culture of communication  Teach empathic writing  Update positions, job descriptions and

performance reviews  Embrace technology!

Internal Focus

External Focus


Today we have learned

How to utilize your Patient Portal

to effectively engage patients.

Discovered tools and techniques to

increase your practice’s portal


Strategies to improve workflows,

patient satisfaction and employee


Patients actively involved in their healthcare tend

to have better outcomes and may lower costs.

-Health Affairs, February 2013

Thank you!

Can I answer any questions?

Tiffani Mauro, MAS, CMPE (760) 525-3117 tiffanimauro@gmail.com





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