Improving Virtual Healthcare With Patient Portals: Top 5 Tactics
Healthcare is becoming more and more of a lifestyle than just a topic to discuss. People expect to receive well improved and upgraded services. In recent years, due to the pandemic, the increase in the need for virtual healthcare among people has pushed the providers to discover and innovate new ideas to keep up with the race. People are even more drawn to virtual services than traditional healthcare deliveries. They want the services to go to them and not vice versa.
Virtual healthcare systems with the help of patient portals solve the problem here.
So, basically what is “Virtual healthcare”?
Virtual healthcare service simply refers to the “virtual visits” that happen between a physician/clinician and their patient. This system uses various technologies to function including telephonic calls, video calls, mobile applications, text-based messaging, and other communicating platforms to reach patients and deliver the services outside the clinical infrastructure.
According to a report released by PARKS ASSOCIATES in 2017, over 60% of the United Nation’s households with broadband services, prefer remote care which would take place online or by telephone.
A virtual visit can be a videoconference between a doctor and a patient at their home. This enables the patient to open up more and provides more privacy. They may feel safer than being at the hospital. This way the patients can avoid traveling to another city, and save money and time. Virtual visits also help in the case of simple emergencies and people can use it even just to get some qualified second opinions.
The tech-enabled virtual healthcare system has been offering some creative ways of healthcare delivery.
Telehealth and virtual healthcare
In many places, the term Virtual healthcare is used as a synonym for telehealth or telemedicine, but they are different from each other.
Telehealth is a broader term that surrounds the entire tech-driven and/or remote healthcare that services patients at a distance and virtual healthcare are just one of its components.
Patient portals: Let’s get down to business
Patient Portals started growing widely in the recent century. They were performing smaller/basic tasks earlier. The majority of the people didn't think of using the software, because of their lack of knowledge of the product.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything upside down. People are for the past two years been compelled to live in a situation, where they should, to some extent, rely upon online services, be it for anything. This is where Patient Portal Software helped them to an extent.
Types Of Patient Portals
Depending upon the type of services rendered by the provider, patient portals can be standalone or integrated.
1. Standalone system
The standalone type of patient portals works in collaboration with Healthcare Information Exchange (HIE) systems. The HIE systems organize health information of patients among various other healthcare organizations, in a specific region, community, or a hospital.
2. Integrated system
This type of system is an Electronic Health Records (EHR) integrated/tethered portal. This portal displays the patient-related electronic information including medical history, allergies, diagnosis, appointment scheduling, lab results, vitals, facilities for virtual healthcare, etc. It also allows the patient to ask for assistance from various providers in public.
Virtual healthcare delivery is made easy by utilizing patient portal services
Patient portal software uses virtual means to offer secure and uninterrupted communication between the patient and the healthcare providers. The services are provided by hospitals, physicians, or any healthcare organization. And are dealt with by the patients or the users, to get hold of their medical records, manage appointments with their physicians, review discharge summaries, lab results, medical prescriptions, allergies, lab results, etc., using an internet connection and a medium.
The use of the patient portals reduces the time taken for reaching the user records and physicians, thus saving them from waiting in a long queue, resulting in better and faster virtual healthcare.
Patient portal: in improving virtual healthcare
1. E-visits - making everything accessible
An e-visit is nothing but the communication made between two or more parties through a technology-enabled setup. Here, it is between healthcare providers and their patients. This method makes use of technical appliances like smartphones which have applications, through calls, text and voice messages, video calls, etc.
- This may include prescription requests, primary diagnosis, consultations, etc.
- E-visits make sure both parties feel safer throughout the meeting.
- Both parties won’t miss follow-ups
- The doctors can pay more attention to their patients during e-visits compared to at hospitals.
2. Booking appointments - made easy
Virtual healthcare portals allow a patient to learn more about the doctors, their specialization, professional experience in their field, reviews about them and their services from other patients, their consultation fees, etc. It connects the patients to verified and authorized doctors with their geographical limits, in their convenient time and place for booking appointments.
Patients can book an appointment according to their convenient time and date according to the availability of the doctor.
And the biggest advantage is that they can e-visit any doctor, irrespective of the place.
3. Improved patient satisfaction
Due to the abundant availability of services 24/7 in virtual means, patients are open to exploring the portal. If one has to go and visit a physician in person, they may need to transport themselves to the hospital, wait for the queue to end, make an appointment, visit the doctor, etc.
If they can avoid all these steps with just some clicks, who won’t agree with me, virtual healthcare is the most satisfying way of getting healthcare service done?
This extremely helps in increasing positive satisfaction from the side of patients. And this, in turn, encourages the providers to increase the quality of service they provide.
4. Service options - in abundance
As said earlier, the services available in Patient portals are many. Each provider uses new technologies and creative ideas to make the experiences more colorful. The Patients will get lucky if they use patient portals to manage all medical-related works.
They can make changes by themselves and use services like easy registration, secured data transfer and file sharing with the doctor, updating of personal data, previous surgery details, appointment scheduling for non-urgent medical situations, handling healthcare insurances and claims, etc.
5. Chronic care at low cost
According to a source, “A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months”. Some of the common chronic diseases are, cardi-vascular disease, lung cancer, stroke, colorectal cancer, depression, type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity.
According to the CDC, “chronic diseases are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for most of our nation’s health care costs”.
So patients with these diseases constantly keep track of their vitals and record and send the variations, so that doctors can improve their treatment procedure. These portals help them avoid frequent travels to the hospitals and save their precious money and time.
It won’t be wrong if I say, we are now living in a digitally modified world. Nothing happens here even without a single touch of virtual presence. Patient portals open the gateway to innovative and first-class virtual healthcare.
While patients use this to ease their access, it turns out to be a revenue model for healthcare providers. The providers thus offer low-cost consultations by e-visits. This in turn benefits the patient and doubles the number of users for the providers. See, it’s a cycle.
Let Vozo align your patient portal strategy for continuous tracking of possible functionalities resulting in the betterment of care you provide. We have been offering these products for a long time now, and believe me when I say this, we know these things like the back of our hands.
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“Let’s make your virtual healthcare products advanced, together”