Create a Digital Calling Card that Offers the Keys to the Kingdom
The word has its root in the Middle Ages. Merriam Webster defines a portal as a “door or entrance: especially a grand or imposing one.” Originally, it denoted the gateway to a city, church or castle.
When creating your physician portal—the digital doorway to your medical practice, so to speak—make sure that it conveys your commitment to quality patient care and to robust, efficient referrer services that set you apart from the competition. Savvy medical marketers use their portal to add value to their relationships with referrers through premium services and streamlined workflow—in short they offer up the keys to a very comfortable kingdom designed with customer needs in mind.
It’s a fact. Today, much of your cross-practice communication takes place digitally and can be centralized and automated within the portal’s digital doorway as an alternative to email, phone and faxing. Busy referrers will appreciate knowing that you are overseeing the entire exam process—from order to follow up–and are delivering the white-glove service that streamlines their workflow.
So when it comes to a successful portal, make sure you create a welcoming, personalized look and feel—no robo atmosphere here. Also remember that offering robust functionality is actually an economy of sorts because once your portal is operational, you can offer extra services that take virtually no additional staff time. It also goes without saying that ease of use is crucial or your referrers may simply choose not to engage with your technology.
When implementing a premium portal, incorporate it heavily in your marketing plans and encourage staff to showcase it in front of prospective referrers. Give them a look inside the gate as it were so that they understand in advance how committed you are to meeting their needs and delivering a high level of service. Remember, your portal can be a very powerful calling card for new prospects. Employ technology that serves dual functions of streamlining operations and inspiring collaboration for tighter referring physician relationships and stronger patient loyalty.
Following are tips from our experts on how to make your portal stand out from the competition as a highly effective sales tool:
Look for a robust and flexible technology that will support your referrer’s workflow and automate as many aspects of it as possible. This includes patient registration, results-delivery and follow up. All data should be available in real time.
For registration, make it easy for physicians to request an appointment with your practice online, manage insurance eligibility processes and provide downloadable copies of all forms for both patients and physicians. Bar-coded forms boost efficiency. Adding patient educational materials also is a good idea.
For results-communications, supply not only online copies of current reports and images but also historical reports.
Follow up material should include historical data, patient satisfaction surveys and a robust patient portal.
In particular, most referrers will appreciate a thorough eligibility manager to ensure patients receive care in a timely fashion. Look for one that provides detailed information about covered services, deductibles, co-insurance and more. It should display where patients are in the verification process and process batch claims. Also make available a history of prior exams enterprise wide and beyond if possible to ensure ordered exams have not been completed elsewhere and may not be covered.
As patients move through the exam process, make sure referrers can see at a glance exactly where they are—did they come in or were they a no show? Did they successfully complete the exam process? Are further tests needed? Did they leave satisfied? How is the exam interpretation process proceeding?
Build in patient engagement by linking your patient portal to your referrer’s digital work area so that they can encourage sign up and add extra materials as needed.
Throughout the portal adopt best practices while catering to your referring physicians. Brand your portal to create a strong impression. Make sure it is intuitive and easy to use.