Simple Portals Aren’t Enough for Consumer Expectations

Member portals must provide a unified experience

The overwhelming majority of patient portals are tethered to a single healthcare information system that require the member to consult multiple technologies. Research from the Chilmark Insight Report concludes that no more than 15 percent of all portals currently have vendor-agnostic or “un-tethered” portals that allow more than just clinical data to comprise their personal health record (PHR).

Better technology is available

Currently technology has the capability to not only include member and provider data, but other partner technology and data, ranging from diet plans to fitness trackers to medication lists. Research suggests that minor tweaks to your existing portals could boost adoption, such as more frequent and more personalized email messages and updates to their accounts. But minor tweaks fail to address the fundamental shortcomings of most patient portal technology. Most of today’s portals are built solely to present data captured at the point of care.

There are steps steps you can take to provide the functionality and engagement your portal requires to enter the elite 15 percent to evolve from a system of record to a system of engagement.

Drive better care at lower costs with advanced data analytics

You can’t do a major overhaul of your portals without first understanding what is working well, and what isn’t. With native analytics, you can automate digestible, real-time insights that show you your latest cost drivers and trends across providers with visualizations to help reduce overutilization, unnecessary care, and deviations from established best practices. Identify your high cost members, and see where you can fill in gaps in care information for members based on their profiles and needs.

You can’t afford to make decisions about your portals based on intuition.

Self-service enrollment solutions

The average cost for an HR staff member to manually enroll an employee in benefits is $109.48. The average cost for an employee to enroll online via self-service is $21.79 (Precious Resources at With an average of 80 percent savings, an automated benefits enrollment solution is a no-brainer for most plans.

Not only will you reduce costs and streamline operations, but having a single-source portal for both your enrollment, benefits, and personal health record sets the tone from the get-go of your portal being the only bookmark they need for their wellness management.

Personalized education and content

Even for healthy members, wellness doesn’t end after their annual visit to the doctor. The most successful portals include integrated virtual coaching to provide personalized guidance and motivation to identify and address unhealthy behaviors before they manifest into ongoing problems. They also include lifestyle device integration to sync progress trackers and motivational challenges, and provide and online community with custom content with actionable recommendations based on the member’s goals and health needs.

Health plans often overlook the technical terminology barrier for their members, often sending them to other, less reputable sources. Appropriate language needs to be the cornerstone of your content and providing a health library as well as other engagement strategies.

Making sure there’s a mobile app

You can have all the above and more, but if you don’t make the experience seamless and easy, no one is going to use it, and chances of them using it in the future decrease if members are disappointed in their initial experience.

Narrow down the points of entry for members to access their healthcare by creating an all-inclusive digital interface they can access from their smartphone, tablet, or desktop. If you’re not providing instant access to healthcare and benefit information, you’re already offering an inferior portal. Deliver mobile apps using secure technology to better inform and engage all members. It’s so integral to the success of a plan that government is making it required to meet national and state compliance.

An industry historically slow to adapt

Things are moving faster. Achieving the long-term gains described above will take time, however there are many immediate benefits and cost-savings to be had.

There will be no single solution or breakthrough moment signaling that your portal is complete and up-to-date with technology. Rather, you will find that your portal is in-tune with the many ongoing steps the industry is taking toward improved engagement and coordinated care solutions.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Healthx solution consultant for a tailored portal development plan.