Dbtech Blog

A Time To Engage : Patient Portals & More

by Greg Park

The winter holidays are a time of reflection and preparation for the coming year. Patient care never stops, but for many time slows as we spend less time with the routine and more time considering the bigger picture. How can I make someone happier? How can I better serve others and my family? What can I do to increase my customer’s satisfaction?

At dbtech, we spend most of our brainstorming ways to make life better for our customers. We think about how rapidly the business of healthcare is changing and wonder how we can use our software and skills to alleviate those challenges.

We have devised a solution that will accelerate your revenue cycle and registration while increasing patient satisfaction and leading you down the path of tighter patient engagement.

There are no shortages of mandated changes in healthcare today. ICD-10, Accountable Care Organizations, Patient Centered Homes, Obamacare, reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and of course the looming requirements of Meaningful Use stretch resources to do more with less.

Next year, dbtech will announce several new products that will help our customers do more with less. Our enhancements are prolific and include an important feature that is near to your writer’s heart.

In response to the Meaningful Use Year 2 requirements of more actively engaging patients by providing them with the capability to electronically view, download and transmit relevant information from their provider’s electronic health record, dbtech will announce the availability of the Ras Patient Portal.

After extensive research into hospital-based patient portals, we have devised a solution that will accelerate your revenue cycle and registration while increasing patient satisfaction and leading you down the path of tighter patient engagement.

You may ask “why should I consider dbtech for my patient portal when my EHR vendor offers the same functionality?” It’s a great question and not simply answered.

Consider the following…

A Patient Portal is a consumer application, and all consumer applications tightly manage their user interface. Quality must be high, but its appearance must remain consistent to maintain and grow consumer usage. I have witnessed patient portal implementations by health systems with both acute and ambulatory services that appear disjointed to the patient and lead to low patient adoption. This occurs when both acute and ambulatory portal solutions are implemented simultaneously. Low patient adoption is driven by multiple patient logins, differing medical records and a user interface that differs depending upon point of entry, making it extremely difficult to achieve the 5% mandate under Meaningful Use Year 2 requirements.

Besides the situation outlined above, are you certain your existing EHR will be the same in 5 years? Will you be introducing a patient portal today only to supplant it when you implement a new EHR? The risk of losing patients in the process of a switchover would seem to be a risk worthy of consideration.

Patient Portals should remain segregated from your EHR, keeping core internal systems separate from consumer facing applications. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Does your EHR patient portal solution rely on real-time connectivity to your internal EHR databases?
  • Has your EHR been written to accommodate the thousands of patient portal users predicted over the next few years?

Consider just ten percent of your patient-base knocking on your firewall and EHR databases. Dbtech has designed our Patient Portal to exist outside of your core applications while still delivering the content needed to adhere to federal standards and your comfort-level of data sharing. Our designs are modular and permit controlled rollout.

As time goes on Patient Portals will become an unavoidable reality, and patients will prefer providers with the greatest transparency.

A third consideration is the MU 2 requirements regarding the distribution of an electronic summary care record for at least 65 percent of transitions of care and referrals. This must include a minimum of 10 percent of transitions or referrals to unaffiliated providers using a different EHR system. Patient Portals permit consumers to share this information with other providers in easy to read formats.

Still not sold on the benefits of a hospital-based patient portal? Know that as time goes on Patient Portals will become an unavoidable reality, and patients will prefer providers with the greatest transparency. This affinity will be enhanced by providing additional clinical services, and for many patients this will be their first foray into electronic health documentation. This may even lend some hospitals and large practices to providing PHR patient tools.

Then, Consider the hard-savings provided by patient portals:

  • Shortened revenue cycles.

    Hospitals can decrease denials by verifying insurance prior to registration. Prior Insurance Verification and Expected Services can help predict a patient’s financial responsibility. Studies prove that patients aware of their responsibility prior to services rendered are more likely to pay. Providers can collect credit card or HSA authorizations prior to registration and hasten the time to payment.

  • Decrease inbound calls.

    Since the patient will have pervasive access to most of their legal record, calls for document copies will decrease.

  • Mitigate Insurance Fraud.

    A Patient Portal will notify guarantors via email the moment services are provided. Typically a patient is not notified of potential insurance fraud until days or weeks post service.

The Ras Patient Portal will be flexible and allow delivery to your consumer-base based upon your bandwidth and perceptions of consumer adoption. Pre-Registration features will reduce patient wait time by permitting users to complete forms and update registration data prior to arrivals. Bill-Pay features will permit patients to pay online while interfacing data to your billing systems.

These efforts will lead us towards the a patient-centered care model. The best Patient-centered providers will address all levels of patient engagement, including clinical and financial aspects. Dbtech hopes that you will consider our Patient Portal technology as a means to coordinate and communicate with patients while providing them with ready access to their data in a safe, secure and insulated portal platform.

From dbtech to you, your family and co-workers we wish you the best of the holiday season and look forward to helping further streamline your hospital’s workflow and revenue cycle needs in the coming year.

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