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Is Your Testing Practice Ready for Patient Portals?

by Adam Creamer, on 7/21/20

The tumultuous year of 2020, from the pandemic to the supply chain disruption, has led to an accelerated digital revolution in the healthcare industry across the globe. Many of the adaptations and improvements were born out of necessity, but they will only lead to better patient care for generations to come.

Following the introduction of electronic medical records (EMR) software and electronic health records (EHR) software, the use of patient portals has become increasingly popular in healthcare organizations of all sizes and specialties.

As digital health and patient engagement technologies become more mature, patient portals are proving to be integral bridges between the patient and the provider. The global patient portal market size was valued at $2.4 billion in 2021 and is expected to hit around $6 billion by 2027.

What Is A Patient Portal?

A patient portal is a site or application for your personal health care.

The growth of patient portals in the past few years has been driven by the rapid digitalization in healthcare and the growing demand for patient engagement. Technological advances in the healthcare industry are highly promoting the use of patient portals, which include the widespread integration of clouds, big data analytics and EMRs/EHRs. 

When properly used, a patient portal can offer many potential benefits and, ultimately, better and more cost-effective care.

For physicians, patient portals could save them a significant amount of time by automating appointment scheduling, billing and other administrative workflows. This is especially impactful with the current staffing shortages. In addition, with an encrypted system for all patient data, physicians can gain faster, more accurate insights from the individual's medical records, allergies, prescriptions, and more.

From the patient's perspective, the portal is a convenient means to reach out to their provider 24/7 and make at-home care possible. Nonemergency requests can also be handled faster, such as records requests and refills. 

Key benefits of patient portals infographic

The Evolution of the Patient Portal

Not too long ago, portals fulfilled one of the two major needs: For healthcare providers, it was a place for patients to pay bills. For health insurance companies, it was a place for individuals to purchase or select coverage.

However, in today’s environment, healthcare portals have become a one-stop shop for all a patient’s healthcare needs.

Take health insurance companies, for example. Yes, individuals can still use their portals to select coverage – be it through Medicare, an employer, state marketplaces, etc. – but they can also find a provider, locate an urgent care center, speak directly to a mental health expert, or video chat with an in-network doctor. This is a lot, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface. Some portals allow access to health records, past test results, to-do lists – like getting a flu shot – and tracking of medications. My healthcare provider even launched a chatbot in their portal to specifically help with COVID-19 questions. 

All of this transformation has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, but there is one fairly large caveat…for any portal to improve your ability to care for patients, it has to be easy to use!

Testing Your Patient Portal beyond Functionality

To make a healthcare portal user-friendly, you have to ensure it functions as expected while the user experience is delightful. So the testing teams should not only focus on function or performance but also test the user interface from the user’s perspective. It means a broader test coverage of every possible user journey and situation, including usability related to ADA compliance. 

Doing this not only helps the average user effortlessly interact with their healthcare team, it also ensures that those at different ends of the spectrum also have quality experiences and can use your portal with ease. Be it an elderly individual who may not be tech-savvy, or a color-blind person who has trouble seeing certain UI elements, testing from their perspective ensures ease of use which ultimately leads to better health outcomes.

This may seem like a lot, especially when your IT teams already have so much on their plate.

Luckily Eggplant is here to help. Our intelligent test automation platform is the only solution available that allows you to test from the user’s perspective at scale.

‘At scale’ is the important part of that last sentence. In addition to a quality experience for all users by testing every possible journey, it means that you can also prepare for any unexpected or known heavy traffic periods by adding in a layer of performance testing. This ensures that your system will never go down during open enrolment periods or if there is a sudden surge of patients into your facility.

Read the eBook to learn why testing user experience can improve patient outcomes.

Testing the EMR and Beyond magazine hero

 

Summary

As more interaction takes place through healthcare portals, quality digital experiences will become a clear care differentiator. To help ensure your patients have the best care possible without putting added strain on your team and resources, look no further than intelligent test automation.

After all, this tech revolution isn’t going away, so why not take the lead in digital healthcare experiences? Get a firsthand look at what it’s like to use Eggplant for testing patient portals via our interactive product tour!

Topics:HealthcareTest automationMobile testingUser experience testingreal user monitoringdigital transformation

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