Despite an increasing number of medical practices implementing or adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software to meet the stage two requirements of Meaningful Use (MU), a lot of healthcare providers are still unsure about the compliance criteria regarding Patient Portals.

The most important requirement in the implementation of an Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software with a patient portal is that firstly, more than 50% of all the unique patients must be provided with a patient portal service. Secondly, 5% of those provided with the patient portal must use and access this facility.

Physicians often get overwhelmed by communicating with the patients about their diagnosis or lab fallouts. These providers fear that they will be bombarded by unnecessary questions from the patients regarding their diagnosis results if they start communicating such information via a Patient Portal. This would use up a lot of their time and would greatly decrease the efficiency of the practice. Thus with a Patient Portal EMR Software, their practice would get more harm than help.

Studies show that the most common reasons the patients use a Patient Portal included viewing their diagnosis results, book appointments online, or to get a prescription refill, all of which could be easily done on a Patient Scheduling Software, or an e-Prescribing (e-Rx) Software. Moreover, 63% of the emails patients send on a Patient Portal EHR Software require physician decisions or formal clinical assessments, and about 24% require proper clinical actions such as lab tests.

Patients use all the resources available to get in contact with their providers as frequently as they can. However, if this communication is managed smartly, it can add real value to your medical practice.

One major step in this regard would be to group all the inquiries together and assign appropriate staff for each one. For instance, when an email or a query is received, it must be classified as a billing query, a diagnosis query, an appointment query, etc. Then, it must be forwarded to the appropriate person so that it can be responded to.

Another important step would be to answer all the emails in one way or another instead of ignoring them. Responding to the patient emails in a timely manner can go a long way in building the image of the practice and increasing patient satisfaction. You don’t need to respond properly to each email since that might not be possible. A simple response saying that the query has been noted and will be answered as soon as the physician frees up will work.

Lastly, you need to decide the type of queries you will be answering over the portal and the type of queries which can’t be answered over the portal. In such cases, you need to be clear with the patients that the information they are demanding cannot be given to them over the portal, and they need to visit the physician