As shown in this press release, WESTMED  Medical Group has leveraged Bridge Patient Portal and mHealth app platform to improve patient engagement. On this regard, we interviewed John Deutsch, CEO and founder of Medical Web Experts and Bridge Patient Portal, to learn more about this exciting news.

Why do you think that WESTMED Medical Group chose to partner with you (Bridge Patient Portal) in order to improve patient engagement?

WESTMED is a large outpatient group that is constantly challenging paradigms and is well-known for leveraging healthcare IT to improve operations. We consider Bridge Patient Portal to be somewhat ahead of its time, and this shows in the type of clients that we attract. From our perspective, WESTMED was simply looking for a next-generation patient portal solution, and to partner with a vendor that could meet their future needs.

How could such partnership improve patient engagement?

Bridge Patient Portal is a very feature-rich and comprehensive solution. Bridge has very advanced interfacing capabilities, which means that we’re capable of making features work that other portals have had trouble implementing in a complex, real-world scenario.  

Bridge is also releasing a new mobile app, which is an integral part of engaging patients. Without a mobile app, web application-based patient portals are severely limited in their ability to truly engage a patient population.

Can patient engagement improve health outcomes? Can you elaborate on that?

Absolutely. Aside from the industry studies that show exactly this, there are specific areas where Bridge Patient Portal and the mHealth App Platform work together to improve health outcomes. For example, Bridge features a robust notifications engine that can route notifications for all types of events to the patient’s device of their choosing via email, SMS text or mobile push notifications. This keeps the patient informed and encourages patient portal logins, which in turn creates a new level of trust and comfort with with the online self-service features. This can then be taken to the next step: providing patient education, care plan tasks, reminders for appointments, etc.

How can your mobile technology improve healthcare?

The mobile app will provide a new level of convenience not yet seen from other outpatient groups. Full access enables patients to make appointments, pay bills, view urgent care wait times, view health summaries, request Rx refills, read relevant news/education and more. These are the features the modern patient wants, and has grown accustomed to in other industries (such as banking).

Where do you see the enterprise patient portal industry in the coming 5-years?

Self-service. Healthcare operations are extremely labor-intensive, and while attempts have been made to create self-service applications, they are piecemealed solutions that don’t integrate with each other. Imagine a patient trying to use separate apps or logins for bill pay, lab results and appointment scheduling. This is a barrier to adoption. In the future, we see all of these self-service functions being offered in a single application.

What recommendations would you like to give to those willing to enter this industry?

The biggest barrier is the development of interfaces to the different EHR and RCM systems. This development is labor-intensive, and a single interface can take as long as a year. Patience and a long-term outlook are very important.

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John Deutsch, a health IT entrepreneur and business owner for 13 years, is the CEO and founder of Medical Web Experts and Bridge Patient Portal. His extensive experience in Healthcare IT includes business development, software development, patient portals, mHealth, patient engagement, HIPAA, electronic medical records, web development and internet marketing. He also co-founded EMR Experts, an EHR consulting firm.

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