When you hear executives in the wake of Meaningful Use, they speak of the mountains of time and money they invested in a patient portal only to have the patient not get on board. The reason is simple. Like most health systems, these organizations chose to invest in the patient portal modules available through the EHR vendor. This is largely because most Meaningful Use patient portal decisions were being made by IT, as opposed to business.
At the top of the list in IT decision-making criteria was integration with EHR. As such, executives crossed off the features required via Meaningful Use quite easily. All but one. They forgot to ask the patient what they needed from their provider, and, more importantly, they forgot to adequately make the patient aware of the benefits provided.
It appears as though the “if we build it they will come” concept hasn’t quite held true in the case of patient portal. In fact, the statistics are rather staggering. An article from HealthData Management entitled “Patient Portals Not Yet Go-To Platform for Patients” reveals:
- Almost half of patients don’t even know if their physician has a patient portal
- 11% are confident their physician “does not” offer one
- Less than half of those surveyed – 49.2% – report actually being shown a patient portal by their primary care physician either during a visit or outside a visit
What’s the underlying problem here? The patient portal is the digital front door to telehealth. Patients won’t knock on that door if they do not know where it is and what value lies behind it. Many forgot that it is often not the IT department – the department largely in charge of Meaningful Use and telehealth initiatives – that invests in stores of knowledge on patient experience.
To learn more download our guide, 3 Key Strategies for Telehealth Adoption.