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Digital Transformation

6. A Patient Portal Is Process Driven

You can find the entire series here in the initial post.

You may wonder why I even mention process for a patient portal.  I mean, a patient logs on, does his or her business, and logs off.   There’s not much process.  From that viewpoint, you are correct, there’s not much process.  However, in order to support a great patient experience, a hospital has many potential processes they must change. Keep in mind that we are talking an healthcare organization already driven by existing processes who have a surfeit of busy people.  Here are a few examples:

gearsNew roles and processes for site enrollment / security

Many hospital don’t have an existing user repository for users. They have no process to sign up patients for a site. They don’t have explicit rules and processes for how sign up will occur, who can do the enrollment, and how to prove identity.  In other words, it’s a brand new world and it will take some time and effort to identify new roles and to create policies that meet regulatory and liability criteria.

Changes to admissions and discharges

In a similar vain with the site enrollment processes, you will probably have to make changes to your current admissions and discharge processes.  Hospital CEO’s will no doubt voice their disappointment when you ask for more time from these people but if you want to meet MU2 goals and have a successful patient portal then you will inject new steps in at least the discharge process.  These new steps will include the following:

  1. Check to see if they are already enrolled in the patient portal
  2. If not, ask if they want to enroll and explain the advantages and how easy it is to sign up
  3. Fill out the key information for setup
  4. Check ID if necessary
  5. Walk the patient through the patient portal. This is important to get them to view their medical record
  6. Finish the process and have the system send an email with their id

Changes to pre-registration procedures

Most Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems don’t have a nice set of API’s or web services. They don’t make it easy to integrate with their system.  If you have captured a pre-registration, you may need to devise a process to get that information into their system.  It may be a manual process.   You will have to define the workflow, kick-off events, who does it, and what validation you must use to verify the information in the EMR.

Bottom Line

I only mentioned three processes but two of the three represent a significant amount of work.  Failure to think through policies and failure to implement processes will cause your patient portal to fail.  So as your techies do their magic, don’t forget the people side of things and what they must do as well.

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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