Marla Durben Hirsh – for Decision Health Part B News – in an interview with Hello Health spokespeople, including: Dr. Fine, Richard Zall and Steven Ferguson, explains the revenue generating model for EHRs.
You may be able to recoup some of the expense of offering a patient portal and even earn some revenue from it by charging for online consults or portal access.
Portals could make it easier to meet stage 2 meaningful use requirements that at least 5 percent of patients have access to health information online and message securely with providers.
Charging for Portal Access
Another growing but more controversial strategy is to charge patients a fee for access to the portal offered by the practice’s electronic health record (EHR) vendor. For instance, Hello Health offers that option to physicians. The payment – the lowest tier is $36 a year – goes to Hello Health; once a certain percentage of patients subscribe, then the subscription fee is shared between Hello Health and the physician.
Some physicians swear by this business model. “Patients want the efficiencies, access and convenience, sympathize with primary care and are willing to pay the $36,” says Joel Fine, M.D., an internal medicine physician in Atlanta who switched to Hello Health’s EHR/patient portal in November 2011. He encourages patients to sign up but doesn’t require it.
Since the portal’s launch, 40 percent of his patients have subscribed. He expects up 70 percent to sign up. Patients like getting lab results in 24 to 48 hours via the portal instead of three to 10 days if they go to the office to get results, he says. “It’s not a cash cow,” he says. “But instead of negative cash flow, you can break even or make a little bit.”
Read the entire article Consider using your patient portal to enhance practice revenue on Decision Health Part B News.