You’ve seen the difficulties in reforming healthcare at a national level. Even changing significant parts of healthcare delivery in a single organization is complex and fraught with technical and political challenges.
One area we’ve seen this is in the adoption of patient portals. Some healthcare organizations have adopted EMR-centric patient portals, which for a purebred organization can work great. But for most hospitals and IDNs, the situation is far murkier because:
- The EMR vendor doesn’t have a patient portal (or they do, but it doesn’t fit your business need)
- You have a best of breed approach and mix and match numerous systems, making data integration complex and costly
- Existing patient portal products are difficult to use
- The cost is too high
Our approach to patient portals is a bit different, and addresses all of these challenges. But one area in particular that we focus on is the ability to implement a patient portal in phases.
Depending on the organization, the political or technical situation may dictate a step-by-step approach, biting off just the highest priority components first. Sometimes this means taking the existing Web site and appending a Patient Portal, “unplugged,” which provides consumers and patients with most of the benefits of a fully integrated portal but without the complexities in tying all of the loose ends together. Sometimes this means building a narrow pilot with a specific service line or a single facility to build internal support and the business case for moving forward on a larger project. Then, when you’re ready, you can move forward with the fully integrated, enterprise-wide adoption.
The point is that the larger the project, the higher the risk, and the higher the cost. Taking it one step at a time gives you several benefits:
- You can reap results faster
- The overall project risk is lower
- You can get feedback along the way, making improvements at each step
In short, you can have your cake and eat it too.
This month’s Webinar, in fact, deals with this exact situation. Genesis Health System worked with us to deploy their patient portal in just this fashion. Ben Dillon will be introducing Ken Croken, Vice President of Marketing at Genesis Health System, and they’ll provide some perspective on how to introduce the elements of a patient portal.