At PREG, we are always looking for ways to improve our patient’s experience and to make things more efficient. Our patients have been asking for a portal for some time now, to see lab and test results, access their medical records, fill out forms and stay in better contact with our team. We began researching different options and successfully implemented our new patient portal at the end of June. Feedback from our patients has been overwhelmingly positive and many find it a game changer in the way they communicate with the office.
I’d like to clarify some of the most commonly asked questions from existing patients and those who are new to the practice.
What are those?
Current patients need to sign up for the portal even though they are well established at PREG. We know you like family, but this will allow us to post lab results quickly and directly to your portal. Prescription refills may be requested through the portal, stim sheets for IVF patients can be posted/updated and it’s so much easier to communicate with the staff. There is also an app available for Apple and Android phones once patients have signed up that can be used to email questions to the staff, access their records and take care of things that would be typically done over the phone. The app can be used most of the time instead of playing phone tag. It’s very intuitive and patient’s have been very complimentary of the features and it’s convenience.
How Does it Work?
We ask both patients (male and female) to set up their own portal accounts because only their lab results and medical information will be posted to their personal account. Each patient has a separate chart so the male and female each need to establish their own portal access to receive information regarding their health in order to achieve a pregnancy.
It is very easy for existing patients to text or email the staff, request refills, see their lab results and those kinds of things.
New patients who haven’t been seen at PREG, it is very important to register for the portal because they can complete their new patient paperwork online saving valuable time at the initial consult. This allows them to have their entire appointment time dedicated to talking with their doctor because the team will already have your health information prior to your first visit.
Why Is It Important for Both Partners to Participate in the Portal?
We ask both partners to fill out the portal because we need the medical history from both people who are trying to achieve the pregnancy.
Patient’s doing fertility preservation, or a single female would not require a second chart.
We do require separate portal accounts and separate charts for same-sex couples. Testing and/or treatments is typically required for both partners.
It sounds like this is a time saver and gamechanger?
It makes things so much more convenient for patients. A lot of our patients are in touch with our staff very frequently, especially during IVF stimulations, and playing phone tag may be frustrating when people are at work or can’t talk privately. The portal allows patients to have a confidential email alert and text alert when something is posted on the portal in regard to their care. It eliminates the guessing as to when this information is coming through. Patients having IVF monitoring can have their stim sheets updated and get a text alert so they know how their medications are going to change, and know their lab results, how many follicles are available. It’s really all about patient convenience.
Has this been a total software change for PREG?
Yes, it has been. We have changed the electronic medical records so everything that is interfaced with the portal and app app interfaced with their medical records. Any communication we have with the patient on the portal is automatically documented in the patient’s chart. Another nice feature is that contact information, insurance and addresses may be updated by the patient directly on the portal . So instead of calling in and spending time on hold to get this information corrected, patients may simply correct all of it to the portal, upload new insurance cards and it’s automatically changed in their chart. We have reduced call waiting time exponentially through use of the patient portal, which is always nice.
It sounds like this is going to keep the lines of communication open for patients.
Exactly, we can post things directly from the chart back to the portal. Some lab results are auto posted so as soon as they come off the analyzer’s and the doctors have signed off on them they are automatically posted for the patient. For example, semen analysis results appear on the portal within 24-48 hours. Test results will be reviewed at the followup appointment, but the patient will know the results very quickly. We are not able to upload all test results that quickly, especially for those that are sent to outside reference labs, but many of our in-house labs may be posted back to the portal within 24 hours.
This is going to maximize the patient’s appointment time with their doctor or provider?
Yes, patients are going to be well informed which may make the follow up appointment with the doctor even more efficient. Many patients using the portal are able to make a list of questions prior to the appointment based off of results posted on the portal. It’s all about utilizing the patients time as efficiently and helping them have access to their medical records, prescription refills, lab results and making communication with our staff as easy as possible for our patients.
Describe the software and the impact on PREG
The provider of the software is Fertility EHR and they are a software company that specialize in fertility practices. It is definitely a more robust program than we were using before and the true advantage is the patient portal and app so we can communicate better with our patients. Prior to the app we felt like we were taking up so much of our patient’s time with paperwork, sending encrypted emails that was a cumbersome process, and playing phone tag which could be frustrating. Our new app and portal have really changed the game.
It’s very important that our patients both male and female, sign up for the portal and create separate accounts. This makes patient communication so streamlined and efficient.
Completing all forms in their entirety is critical to have the medical record for the doctors to review. There are separate intake history forms for males and females, so to reiterate, both partners need to create separate portal accounts and complete their medical history. A release of medical records is also included in the new patient information. It’s very important that this form be completed with the patient’s current OB/GYN or primary care physician. We want to get medical records prior to the scheduled appointment to review any prior testing, treatments or health conditions that may need to be addressed before attempting pregnancy.
Here’s How to Get Started
All patients will be required to utilize this system, so we’ll need you to create an account. You will be sent a link with directions on creating your account to the email you have provided to our staff. Please check your email for this link. Alternatively, you may set up an account by following this link:
Once you’ve arrived at the Portal, we’ll need you to click the blue REGISTER button that is on the right of the page. From there, you will be prompted to enter your personal details. Once you’ve registered an account, you can download the free app from the App Store to make accessing the portal even easier. For new patients, your registration packet will be sent to your portal prior to your initial appointment. Please ensure that you have filled this out by the day prior to your scheduled appointment. This will allow the doctor to become familiar with your history and current needs before your visit. If you have difficulty registering or have any questions, please call our office at 1 (866) 725.7734
PREG has three IVF Centers (Greenville, Columbia and the Lowcountry) with offices in Asheville and Spartanburg.