By Corey Fletcher
We hear about physician portals, electronic signature, paperless mandates, etc. and it all sounds wonderful. So we get really excited and seek out a physician portal that is right for us. We sign the contracts, go through the training and then we cannot get our doctors to use it. FRUSTRATED!!! That’s the word that comes to mind when you mention physician portals. The technology is there to make things better but adoption is not. So why is this and what do we do about it? Ask yourself this question and maybe it will help you understand your physicians. When we make a change in the agency why is it so hard to get everybody on board? Unfortunately, change tends to slow down the process initially. Therefore, it is easier to go back to our old ways. The only way change happens is through patience and persistence.
The reason why adoption is lacking is because physicians have been operating the same way for many years. Therefore, the mold is not easily broken. In order to break the mold, you will need patience and persistence in making it successful for the physician. Once you do this it will be successful for you as well.
Physician portals are not the end all be all solution for getting documents signed. We are in the infant stages of physician portals for home health and hospice agencies, so just as physicians have to change, so do agencies. You have to have patience and persistence with your agency staff to make sure they are doing the things necessary to be successful for both you and the physician. One thing to note is that identifying the right physicians early in the process will make it easier for both parties.
Also, it takes a champion to help the physician make the transition. That champion needs to be someone in your agency. You cannot rely solely on the home health software vendor because they do not have the relationship with the physicians. Also, it cannot be someone in the physician’s office because their days are so busy that they don’t have time to think about implementing something new. Your agency needs to be the champion. And in the process of doing this, you will strengthen your relationship with the physician and their office. Your home health software vendor should be able to assist you in this process, but if you want it to be successful you must take the lead.
Remember, physician portals are new to the market and are designed to make things better. But there will be bumps in the road for you and your physicians. Those who understand and can adjust to these bumps will be successful in the end. PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE should be your road map for implementing physician portals and your physicians will appreciate it in the end.