This blog post was featured in the Winter 2013 edition of the Quality Care Courier, a newsletter publication of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).
Many practices are looking to engage their patients using the Internet. Patient portals are being touted as a key means to share information between a physician practice and patients. In fact, studies show (Kaiser Permanente) that patients who are active online are more likely to stay with a practice than patients who are not. Additionally, the engaged online patient typically has a higher overall satisfaction rate and is generally healthier.
It is also noted that email correspondence between patients and physicians can result in better outcomes and chronic disease management. Statistically, practices with patient portals have shown that one in four e-mail communications with physicians resulted in a saved office visit and that obviously has cost saving implications as well as opening up the physicians’ schedule for more visits with patients truly in need of care.
The trend to institute Internet portals for patients to communicate with their physicians is a good one. Moreover, these applications undoubtedly will encompass mobile devices and social media as well. Patient engagement is one of the cornerstones to ensuring quality care and positive healthcare outcomes. Engagement involves encouraging ongoing communications. Patient portals are a proven effective tool that encourages communication and develops an effective partnership between patients and their physicians.