Visualizing the Patient Care Process with Your Patient Portal
It’s 11 a.m. Do you know where your patients are? Did Mrs. Smith check in for her MRI or orthopedic exam? Did she complete it? How far along is she in her treatment plan? Is the image interpretation process progressing as it should?
If your referring physician portal isn’t tracking patients through the entire exam or treatment process to keep your referrers up to speed, then you’re not using this important tool to its full advantage. If it isn’t integrated to some extent with your patient portal, then you’re losing an important opportunity to build the engagement of both your referring physicians and the people they entrust to your care. Use your portal to demonstrate to your client base that their patients are receiving expert, thorough care and that you are managing all day-to-day problems to provide the highest level of service.
It goes without saying that delivering medical care isn’t always easy. There can be many bumps in the road when a patient is referred to a specialist, whether an orthopedist, oncologist, radiologist or other physician. Using your portals to track patients’ paths as they travel down the road of specialized treatment will involve referrers in their ongoing care, while helping to keep the process on track.
Choose your physician portal carefully, and make sure it addresses these important landmarks along the way:
Naturally, your portal should allow referrers to schedule a patient appointment. In addition, for those who choose to schedule their own visits, the portal should display appointment times to keep referrers informed.
Manage insurance eligibility processes to ensure you can care for patients in a timely fashion, and let referrers know that the requested patient services have been approved by payers.
Whether you send reminders through a referrer or patient portal, again make this visible to all physicians involved in the patient’s care.
No shows or reschedules
Missing an appointment with a specialist can significantly impact care down the line and the treatment plans of other doctors involved. Keep referrers informed so that they can encourage patients to reschedule visits or explore their reasons for non-compliance.
Exam or visit completion
Occasionally a patient can get lost along the way (Where IS Waldo?). For example, they may become claustrophobic in an MRI machine and need to redo the exam. They may refuse prescribed medication or standard protocols of care. Keep physicians up to date on these issues.
Results of any imaging exams or tests
It goes without saying that results of diagnostic tests will drive future care. Referrers will want access to diagnostic reports and images immediately upon completion. They also will want to follow the reporting process and keep abreast of preliminary findings so that they can plan ahead for treatment.
Other reports and key patient events
Specialists delivering treatment will want to keep referrers immediately informed about ongoing care and any key events that alter treatment plans or prognosis.
Additional tests or treatments required
Obviously, this is equally crucial forward-looking information to offer.
Important historical data
Key retrospective information should also be easily accessible to provide a thorough patient profile and help prevent unnecessary repeat procedures, especially costly and stressful imaging exams. Make accumulation of this data a two-way street by enabling upload of medical images, test results and information from any similar specialists the patient has seen in the past.
Of course, it goes without saying that all this information should be provided in an easy-to-access and understand format in real time. Don’t overlook making one of your most important resources—your counsel and advice—easily available from within your referring portal through digital chat and collaboration tools.
In short, make sure your referrers always know just where your patients are at any time of day and how you can be reached when needed.