How to encourage people to use your online patient portal

As more hospitals, clinics, practices, and healthcare organizations in general become paperless, the majority have integrated online patient portals into their administrative system. The only problem? Not all patients sign up for one, and even fewer know how to use them. Encouragement and instruction are important parts of successfully using these portals, and luckily, it's pretty easy.

Help them set up their accounts

There are many strategies you can use to get patients to set up their accounts, and they're most effective when they're used together. Posting marketing materials around the office is one way to generate more patient awareness of the portals, while posting instructions on your social media pages is a good way to reinforce the message.

One of the best ways to make sure patients actually set up their profiles, however, is to show patients what to do when they're checking out. Many practices send automated emails doing this after an appointment, and while this is a great informational tactic, it doesn't always promote follow through. Some patients don't want to take the time to set up portals, and some simply don't understand how to on their own.

Encourage them directly

While administrative encouragement is invaluable, it's also important for physicians to tell their patients about the portal and its benefits directly. Ask your patients if they have one set up when you see them, and give them an informational flyer if they haven't.

Show them the benefits

Truth be told, many patients don't know why they should have profiles set up online. Make sure they know they can schedule appointments online (one of the greatest perks), check out their lab results, and ask questions.

Allow them to communicate with you directly

Speaking of questions, it's a good idea to set up your practice's portal so that patients can contact you directly. There isn't much of an inherent benefit to having administrative employees filter and answer medical questions for youthis is exactly the way the process works on the phone. Instead, allow people to ask you questions directly, and respond as promptly as you can. It's amazing how effective this personal touch can be.