Strategies for Promotion of a Patient Portal in the UNT Geriatrics Clinic for Improved Satisfaction and Access




Loza, Cynthia
Ross, Sarah
Henderson, Leslie
Booker, Sandra
Prasad, Subhada


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Purpose: The use of electronic health records has become a vital part of patient care. Electronic health records have many benefits, including assisting providers with tracking tasks important for health maintenance and chronic disease management. Electronic health records also have patient portals, which are secure online websites that give patients access to their personal health information. NexGen is the electronic health records system used at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, and we have recently started using their Patient Portal. Our team has worked on promotion and training in the patient portal to assist with participation by both clinical staff and patients. The goal is improve patient and caregiver access to their personal health information, improved satisfaction, and improved communication with their care team. Additionally, the patient portal will support improved chronic disease management by providing a way to send electronic messages to patients with reminders of any necessary testing or notifications of any educational programs relevant to their condition. In the Geriatric population, we want to make use of a patient portal user friendly for those with low computer literacy and also usable by caregivers of patients with cognitive impairments. Methods: The team has used several tools for promotion of the patient portal. A video was produced to train staff on how to enroll patients in the portal and how view messages receive through the portal. A kiosk was set up in the waiting room of the UNT Geriatrics clinic with student volunteers to assist patients one-on-one with enrollment. Buttons for advertisement and awareness were distributed to office staff. We also created an icon in NexGen to easily recognize which patients have already enrolled. When the goal of 60% enrollment is achieved, the team plans to evaluate outcomes of improved access and satisfaction. Both a general and a patient portal specific patient satisfaction survey will be distributed to the UNT Geriatrics patients. We will also compare communication received from patients by phone which electronic communication through the patient portal. Results/Conclusions: Enrollment in the NexGen patient portal in the UNT Geriatrics clinic is on the rise. Patients who are participating have enjoyed the ability to email their care team with questions. In particular, we have had success in providing improved access for our hearing impaired patient, as the Geriatrics office staff have emailed for coordination of acute appointments to address urgent needs. As more patients and caregivers utilize this tool we hope to show improved patient satisfaction. Regarding access to the care team, we anticipate a slight decrease in phone calls with more use of the patient portal for electronic communication. Adjustments to the patient portal will be made over time to ensure that it is patient centered and providing patients and caregivers with the information they need to manage their health.