In today’s world where everything is being digitized, the healthcare ecosystem is nowhere behind. Hospitals and healthcare institutes have started adopting technologies and implementing software solutions into their systems to keep healthcare records. This is why the demand for patient portals has increased in the past few years. Nowadays, many organizations have started looking out for the best patient portal development companies that can help them create a custom patient portal solution for their institute.
Patient portals created by healthcare software development companies are versatile and used by hospitals to provide high quality of healthcare. The medical software not only enables better communication between the patients and the healthcare providers but also helps in building a better patient-physician relationship and giving more control of the treatment to the patients. These portals enable the patients to access their healthcare data whenever and wherever they require it. They can check their prescriptions & lab results, update personal & medical information, update insurance information, and manage unpaid balances.
As per a survey from Research and Market, the adoption of patient portal software in the medical field will reach a value from $2,705 million to $5,820.88 million in 2027. The majority of healthcare officials have now started to encourage the use of multipurpose healthcare portals to digitize the important parts of the medical ecosystem.
Basically, the patient portals are used to handle clinical and administrative functions. They also enable patients to be more engaged with their doctors. To know more about the patient portal, its types, benefits, features, development cost, and more let’s go through this blog.
1. What is a Patient Portal?
Patient Portals are the systems to help the medical fraternity and patients to exchange and communicate their problems. Patient portals are the systems that are developed by the software development companies. These portals are used by hospitals and medical service providers to offer patients with timely access to their healthcare data. Besides this, they can enable the patients to retrieve their lab results, update patient profiles, enable patients to ask health-related questions and offer insurance information.
Basically, patient portals can be useful to increase patient engagement, manage cost, promote loyalty, and streamline workflows. In addition to this, patients can schedule or reschedule appointments and pay healthcare bills directly through the portal.
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2. Types of a Patient Engagement Portal
Two major types of patient engagement portals available in the market are –
2.1 Standalone Patient Portal
Standalone patient portals are the software that support a limited number of functionalities but are highly used by healthcare institutes. This type of portal usually offers just one key function, like accessing lab test results or scheduling appointments. And here the database or file storage system solution behind the portal is rarely connected to bigger systems. This means that the standalone patient portals aren’t connected to the data exchange systems like electronic health record or HMS. Basically, standalone healthcare systems are used for smaller institutes like independent drugstores, private labs, boutique healthcare providers, and local medical officers.
In addition to this, a standalone patient portal works on simple software architecture which clearly means that it requires less effort or investment in terms of healthcare app development process. Besides this, even a less-skilled programming team can develop standalone healthcare software in a shorter time. And as its development doesn’t require experts, it is normally affordable for smaller businesses.
2.2 Integrated Patient Portal
Integrated patient portals are also known as connected or tethered portals. These types of portals serve as a front for combined or larger medical systems such as an electronic health record (EHR) or hospital management system (HMS). Integrated patient portals are for the medical institutes that have big and complex systems. For bigger institutes, this type of patient portal comes with features like a direct connection to the patient’s database handled by the organization or a medical facility. Once the connection is made with the institute’s database, the software can offer a wide variety of services and functions to the healthcare providers.
Basically, integrated patient portal systems require more time and effort to get developed and designed as they have to offer various features and they are going to be integrated into larger institutes’ existing systems. Because of this, the development cost of integrated patient portals is greater than that of a standalone portal. Besides this, this type of portal has the capability to become a part of a bigger digital transformation by involving a hospital management software development approach.
3. Benefits of Patient Portals for Medical Practice
Some of the major benefits of patient portal software for medical practice are –
3.1 Facilitate the Work of a Healthcare Administrator
When any healthcare institute starts using medical patient software, it can be very useful to the users in many different ways but one of the best ways is that it works as a support team for the hospital. Besides this, with the help of the patient healthcare software, the patients of any hospital or medical institute can resolve their own issues which eventually helps in reducing the workload of the healthcare administrators.
3.2 Improve Communication Between a Patient and the Healthcare Team.
Nowadays, the majority of medical institutes opt for patient portals as they can work as powerful communication tools. The main reason behind it is that patient healthcare software is powered by artificial intelligence (AI). As AI-based chatbots are generally embedded into a patient portal, they can help the hospitals to keep track of the patient’s details and enable the patients to track their insurance claims, schedule appointments, and send payment. Besides this, the hospitals can share self-care tips with the patients and send them reminders for their appointments & payments.
3.3 Contribute to Telemedicine Development
As per a survey, the adoption rate of the custom patient portal solutions is 90% in the USA but still, there are some medical institutes that haven’t started using such solutions. But choosing this type of solution for the hospital can lead to great opportunities and best practices for patient healthcare. Such healthcare portals for patients come up with outstanding features and functionalities that can benefit patients a lot by streamlining their in-hospital process and generating high-quality medical information for them and for future hospital use.
3.4 Get Rid of Medical Errors
Generally, it happens that when any patient is admitted to the hospital or goes for a checkup in the hospital and interacts with an administrator or nurse, there is always a risk of misunderstanding something. But by using the medical portal, the patient can manage their own consultation appointment process, check their personal health data, ask organizational questions through the portal, and receive answers. All this can be carried out without any misunderstanding or error as the portal’s chatbot will be AI-based.
4. Features of a Patient Portal Software
Some of the major patient portal features that are useful for both patients and hospitals are –
4.1 Easy Patient Registration
For any healthcare service provider, patient onboarding is one of the most important things. With the patient portal, healthcare organizations can make the registration process for their patient more easier and convenient.
Any hospital institute requires a proper design for the registration process as it has to be user friendly for the patients. When any user is signing in, the medical firm can ask to fill out a form to understand the user’s medical history, health lab reports, previously prescribed medication, and underlying conditions. The data gathered from the form will be stored in the patients’ profiles and this process will likely help in improving patient engagement.
Developing a patient portal that offers an easy patient registration process requires a multi-tier solution that has the capability to manage access as per the role of the user across the levels. Besides patient management, this medical portal also needs a supplier management system, employee management system, and partner management system. With such systems integrated into the patient portal software, the tasks like managing staff, treating patients, partnering with laboratories, and getting medical supplies can be streamlined and tracked easily. All these can be done from a single interface.
4.2 Customized Personal Profiles
Another important feature that every medical portal must-have is a perfect section for personal profiles of the patients. Though keeping personal data updated might be boring for patients but if they get some reward points in return, they won’t mind doing it and in this way, hospitals will have all the required information about their patients in one place. In the personal profile section, the portals must keep information such as –
- Insurance information
- Emergency contact details of the patients’
- Basic medical information like allergies, medications, or any other health condition.
By making the patients fill in the above data, the hospitals will have all the basic and necessary data of the patient which can be useful at the time of any emergency. Due to such reasons, it is a good idea to integrate the patient portal of any medical institute with a Healthcare CRM and electronic health records. As this will help all the sectors of the institute pull all the available data from one source. Besides this, having a portal integrated with a CRM or EHR will enable the users to share their medical records with their family members without any issues.
4.3 Patient Data Management
In any custom patient portal software, if there is a proper patient data management feature available it can be very beneficial. This feature can offer access to the individual patient data to the doctors and with the help of it, the doctors can get all the required information about the patient such as patient’s EHRs (electronic health records), lab tests, prescription plans, and more. Even patients benefit from this feature as they get access to their medical history, current treatment, insurance details, and more.
4.4 Appointment Scheduling
With the help of the patient portal, scheduling an appointment with preferred doctors can be done smoothly and it is an important functionality in the patient portal development process. This feature enables the patients to book their appointment from wherever they are. Such portals come with an integrated calendar that the patients can view to see if any slots for appointments are available and they can also book the appointments from the same calendar. Besides this, the appointment scheduling feature can be a game-changer as it can help the patients optimize time utilization by automatically eliminating unnecessary appointments.
4.5 Prescription Management
Patient portals also come with a prescription management system that is a tele-medication feature for the patients. This feature enables the patients and medical practitioners to keep track of the ongoing treatment and repeated medical procedures of the patients. It even asks patients to refill the prescriptions if they have consulted some other doctor for an emergency. By offering such a feature to the patients, the medical institutes can expect an increase in the management of patients. Besides this, by having such software, hospitals can reduce the physical footfall at their premises.
4.6 Secure Encrypted Messaging
Every patient portal solution offers real-time communication with the help of chatbots, but besides that patients must also get personalized consultations with the help of protected chat. This feature can make the medical institute’s approach very popular as the patients get custom treatment and their information is safe & secure. For this, the patient portals must implement a live chat feature or AI-based chatbot that not only answers FAQs but also offers customized answers.
4.7 Online Payments
Using a patient portal will give an easily accessible platform to patients where they can clear the medical dues. This means that having a patient portal with an online payment gateway can be very beneficial for hospitals. This feature enables physicians to track down clients for overdue payments. Besides this, the online payment system in medical software can also help in managing insurance and medical claim data. Eventually, this feature can help in increasing the revenue cycle of the hospital and saving the time that goes behind a physical payment or insurance process.
4.8 Enhanced Security
A reliable secure patients’ portal app is a necessity now. With this security feature, the app carrying sensitive patient information stays secure and maintains privacy. Besides this, multi-factor authentication is a must for any digital healthcare solution as it will ensure personal data security.
5. Patient Portal Software Development Process
When it comes to healthcare portal development, there are some substantial responsibilities that need to consider and require a certain amount of preparation. To know the entire process of how to create patient portal software, let’s go through the patient portal development process:
5.1 Hiring Technical Team
The first thing that any medical institute or hospital needs to do is contact a patient portal software vendor that has expertise in developing patient portal solutions. If you are an owner of a hospital and are looking for a perfect tech partner, you must pay attention to various things including the number of successful projects the company has delivered, the complexity of the projects delivered, and the type of technologies used to create those custom solutions. In addition to this, one must also check the patient portal software vendors expertise before hiring the patient portal development service providers.
5.2 Requirements Analysis
The next step in the patient portal software development process is to analyze the business requirements. Here, with the help of the hired development team, the owner or management team of the hospital must come up with the project’s specifications which include the app’s peculiarities, features, 3rd party services, technology stack, and more. Here, the web architecture must be selected as per the platform and non-functional requirements. Besides this, attention should be paid to an advanced architecture based on microservice patterns or cloud-native services as these models work the best when it comes to evolving the applications.
5.3 UI/UX Design and Prototyping
After the requirement analysis phase, the next step is for the UI/UX designers to determine the important user scenarios like prescription renewal and video meetings with the doctor. The designers can create a prototype of the future patient portal solution that shows how the software is supposed to look and what it is supposed to do. The prototype will specify the capabilities of the software. Besides this, the designers will also make the user interface elements of the portal which will be appealing and intuitive. Basically, in this stage of the software development process, the designers will come up with a user-friendly and modern design for the portal.
5.4 Development and Integration
After designing, the team comes to the development and integration phase. It is the most important and challenging phase of the patient portal software development process. In this stage, the development team creates a backend and front end of the platform. They also create a mobile application if it is the medical institute’s requirement. The development team integrates the required APIs into the portal. For instance, if the portal has to have a payment system, the developers will integrate an API for the online payment system. After the creation of custom patient portal, the developers integrate it with other systems like CRM, EHR/EMR, hospital management systems, and more. This enables the hospitals to avoid any duplication of data and it also helps in minimizing the patient data management cost. So basically, the development and integration phase is the most essential part of the entire development procedure.
5.5 Quality Assurance and Testing
After the development of software, before launching it, the last step to carry out is quality assurance and testing. There is a specific team of experts who have the qualifications and capabilities to test the patient portal in both manual and automated ways. This team of testers verifies the functionalities of the product and checks whether everything is working well or not. In this stage of the development process, the main aim is to assess whether the developed platform is ready for deployment or not. The testers confirm that the portal complies with the regulatory standards and core security.
5.6 Delivery and Maintenance
The last stage of the patient portal software development procedure is to deliver the software and then offer maintenance support. In this stage, after the QA team approves the product, the software development company presents it to the customer and stakeholders for feedback. After collecting the feedback from the stakeholders and the customer, the development team makes the necessary changes if required and then delivers the product. But the work is not over here, after the deployment of the portal, the development team has to keep the product up-to-date by offering frequent upgrades, checking the data security measures, and monitoring the standard compliance. Offering such services enlarges the software lifecycle and also enables the patient portal to keep up with the dynamic market.
6. How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Patient Portal?
Let’s have a look at the cost of the patient portal development process and aspects that affect the cost –
6.1 Development Team
The most basic thing for starting the development of a patient portal with a few important features is a team of 2-3 expert software developers (one or two front-end developers and one back-end developer). Along with this, the software development team must also have a project manager and QA specialist. The cost of hiring a programmer in the U.S. is very expensive. The front-end developers’ average yearly wage is between $8k to $105K $8K per month in the USA as per the talent and expertise of the developer. Projects like medical portals last for 2-3 months which can cost a lot. Therefore, when it comes to creating a patient portal, hospitals from foreign countries hire software development companies from India as the cost of the entire app development can be around $70-80K.
This is why medical institutes don’t prefer having an in-house app development team, rather they would outsource the development team which not only includes developers but also has project managers and QA engineers.
6.2 Duration of the Project
Another important aspect when it comes to the cost of the patient portal development is the duration of entire project. As per the size of the development team and the technological profile, the execution process of the project can take around three to six months approximately. You can minimize the patient portal project’s duration if the software is assembled with ready solutions from different libraries or software available in the market. It can also be an integrated portal with open-source catalogs with the help of API integration and appropriate setting of components to minimize the duration of the project. But if the hospital or medical institute wants to have a highly customized patient portal with various individualized solutions in it, the institute will require lengthier engagement from the software developers. This will add up to the cost of the software development process.
7. Patient Portal Development with TatvaSoft
The increasing use of online platforms in every field makes it very clear that the acceptance of the patient portals will be great and using them will offer a lot of benefits to both the medical institute and the patients. In the last few years, many medical institutes and hospitals have started using patient portals. Due to this the healthcare ecosystem has seen a tremendous rise and great results because of their vast capabilities.
Patient healthcare software has significantly contributed to streamlining healthcare services and generating greater revenue for medical institutes. By seeing its acceptance level, this enhancement seems to keep increasing. As mentioned in above considerations, you might have got an idea of what you want for your medical institute. If yes, then the only decision you need to make is what type of platform you require. For this, first make a decision on which type of software design you want for the patient portal. After that hire expert developers who can help in creating a patient portal as per your requirements.
If you are finding it difficult to choose the right software development vendor, you can consider having a look at the healthcare portfolio of TatvaSoft. TatvaSoft is an expert patient portal development company that offers its services to all business requirements. The developers at TatvaSoft specialize in offering customized patient portals by keeping specific considerations of healthcare officials in mind. The healthcare management software created by the experts of TatvaSoft can help your institute level up the healthcare management workflow. So, if you want to hire the expert developers of TatvaSoft, connect with their team to digitize your healthcare services.
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8. Final Thoughts
Nowadays, patient portals are widely useful as they offer the beneficial medical practices for both the patients and the hospitals. This is why more and more medical institutes are now turning toward digitalization. But, patient portal app development is a difficult task if medical professionals don’t find the right tech partner. With the right choice of a software development company, hospitals can get patient healthcare solutions that offer various patient portal features like patient registration, appointment scheduling, patient data management, secured chatbots, and more. Therefore, when any medical organization plans to go digital, the first thing they must do is find the best patient portal software development company as the rest of things will be taken care of by the hired firm.