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Improving patient retention with the use of patient portals

A patient portal is a secure, online platform that gives you and your patients 24-hour access to health information, such as your patient’s current medications, lab results, discharge summaries, and much more. It’s a communication tool, a medication reminder, an appointment booking system, an educational material, and sometimes even a payment tool… all in one place.

With 73% of patients believing access to personal health records would help improve their care satisfaction, it’s clear that patient portals can bring a lot to the table when it comes to improving retention and the overall clinical study experience, for both you and your patients. So, let’s take a closer look into five benefits of a patient portal.

1. Real-time results

For some patients, depending on their condition, it can be difficult for them to report their daily responses throughout a clinical study. This could lead to gaps in your data collection or your patients could receive delayed support and engagement.

But alerts and reminders via a patient portal can prompt patients to input the data you need, whenever you need it. Plus, you get the results in real-time, meaning you can act faster to any adverse reactions and engage with your patient at the right times. So, not only are real-time results convenient for your data collection, they’re a huge benefit to your patient as you can help to keep them healthier, you can address any issues they have before they escalate, and they’re more likely to be engaged throughout the study.

2. Reliable results

When data are manually reported and updated, the reliability can be questioned. Manually inputting data can not only be difficult for patients, but tracking and updating can be time-consuming for the clinical site team, too. Important details may not be noted down and can simply be forgotten about.

However, some patient portals include a digital journal – like an e-Diary – that can be kept up-to-date quickly and easily, and a chart can be created from their symptoms. That way, you can easily keep track and make sure information isn’t missing, meaning more reliable results, and increased research validity. On top of this, you can spot real-time ‘deviations’ in your patient’s health record, which could have a potential impact on their clinical study experience, so you can act fast, and accordingly.

3. Results ‘outside of the office’

More and more clinical studies are increasing the use of digital health – from wearable devices to mobile apps. The beauty of a patient portal is that it can be easily connected with such devices. So, even if your patient is at home, their recordings can be automatically updated onto the patient portal and relayed to you in real-time.

In addition, having 24-hour access to the patient portal at home can be motivating for your patients. Being able to log on, visualise their results in charts and graphs, and monitor their progress towards their goals, can keep them motivated throughout the study.

4. Reduced workload

Patient portals can unburden both staff and patients that are involved in the clinical study in a number of ways.

  • Saving time: you’ll no longer need to spend time searching through reams of medical files to find relevant data, because the data is readily available in the tap of a button.
  • Controlled communication: for some things that may have previously been handled through a phone call, messaging via the patient portal can be convenient and efficient. Plus, being able to access patient queries at the same time as health records is a huge benefit.

5. A loyal patient means improved retention

And last, but certainly not least, research has shown that patient portals directly impact retention: those who establish a relationship with their providers via a patient portal are more likely to return to that provider. And another study showed that patients with access to doctors’ notes had higher rates of medication adherence because they were more engaged in and informed of their treatment plans. So, the evidence speaks for itself – patient portals offer improved engagement, which ultimately improves retention in your clinical study.

Will a patient portal work for everyone?

Are you reluctant to employ the use of technology in your clinical study? There are certain characteristics that could influence patient portal adoptions, such as minority ethnicities or age. Some may assume that older users are cautious to switch from traditional methods to digital technology. But according to research this isn’t the case, with patients in their 60s being just as likely as younger patients to register for their patient portal. And even if you’re hesitant, training and support can be provided for both staff and patients, to ensure you get the most out of it.

Key take-away?

Patient portals bring huge benefits when it comes to improving the clinical study experience. By providing 24-hour access to health information, secure messaging, real-time results and more, it can transform you and your patient’s experience and ultimately improve retention for your clinical study.

Interested to learn about more ways you can engage with patients and improve retention? Our patient centricity white paper explores further solutions. Take a look!

Blog was originally published here.

17th August 2020



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