2018-12-15 By Tanya G. Dixon
As was discussed in the previous article the benefits of implementing a self-service practice are numerous. Another advantage is that the portal helps medical practices to collect co-pays and deductibles from patients. If the patient leaves the office without making a payment at the time of the visit, the portal has the information and will include the explanation of benefits for the patient to view and if there is a problem the patient can notify the office.With this system patients can also manage their accounts, receive statement reminders and make a payment via the online portal. This will improve the ability to collect money due and save time from sending out a paper statement, which uses paper, an envelope and a stamp. This also cuts back on the amount of calls made to the office regarding their bill. They can easily access their account online and match up the explanation of benefits with the date of service and then make the payment. Many patients prefer to do all their payments online as it is, this would just make it even more convenient for them.Patients can use the system as well to get lab results, drug refills and appointment scheduling. They can access their records for such things as their lab results that they may need a copy of for another physician, looking up and printing out vaccination records for schools and summer camps, scheduling an appointment anytime of the day when it’s convenient for them. Many people have to travel for their employment and this is an advantage for them to still be able to access their records and results of testing even if they are out of town.Many physicians have said that they promote a self-service practice for their patients because it cuts back on the number of phone calls and letters being sent to the practice. Medication refills is another advantage of having a portal. Patients can go onto the portal and select what they need. Since the portal is directly linked to the electronic medical record, the system pulls up their medication and they can just select the one to be refilled. This helps to avoid the common spelling errors that can cause so many headaches.E-mails can be sent through the portal to alert a patient of their lab results within 12-24 hours. Most of this can be done by a click of a mouse. The same applies when the patient needs to come back for a follow up appointment; you can just click a button for “Pap Normal”—3 years, meaning the test was normal and should be repeated in 3 years.Implementing a self-service practice is definitely something for a medical practice to consider.