Exploring the EHR’s Role in Fostering Patient Engagement

Down arrow


Pam, a practice administrator, sits at her desk, knowing something must change. Her patient portal is down. Again.  

From her office, she can hear the phones that have been ringing since 8 AM when the practice opened. Patients unable to access the portal are calling in to complain, make appointments, request refills, inquire about lab results, and ask general questions. She's had to move two medical assistants who usually room patients to phone duty, so now the waiting room is backing up. And she's already short-staffed. Today is going to be a long day. 

It would be one thing if the portal breakdown was a one-off occurrence, but it happens at Pam's office frequently. And because the patient portal is tied to her scheduling and patient intake technology, those need to be fixed, too. Everyone is using paper to write down information that will later have to be rekeyed or scanned into patient records, which are thankfully still accessible. Still, all that manual work will require overtime, and she won't reach her payroll target. Again.  

Not only will this latest interruption cost her more in wages, but she also marks her calendar so she can remind herself why she'll have so many demographic denials – which will inevitably happen when staff is rushing to input information that normally would be done by patients.  

Pam closes the door to her office, sits at her desk, takes stock of the situation, and recognizes she wouldn't be comfortable recommending her portal to a colleague. She asks herself, "Can I continue to place my trust in this portal?" The answer, Pam realizes, is no. Pam remembers back when the portal was installed. At the time, their choice seemed like the best one because it was their EHR's recommended solution. Pam decides if she can find a system she can trust, she's sure that patient satisfaction will rise, her staff will be less stressed, and she'll hit payroll targets.  

Pam is disappointed things did not work out as planned with her EHR's patient portal but knows she can no longer wait for things to improve. She resolves to find a new solution and picks up the phone to call a colleague who she knows is happy with their portal. 

If an EHR's patient engagement technology is unreliable or does not provide a modern, easy-to-use experience, it can negatively affect your clients' perceptions of your organization and their overall satisfaction. 

Whether your patient engagement is an outbuilding of your technology, a while-labeled solution, or supplied by a preferred vendor – it is a direct reflection of your organization. Use this guide to gauge if your patient engagement solution is positioned to cultivate a positive relationship with your providers or is putting your organization's reputation at risk. 

Take this content with you by filling out the form to get a PDF.

Or keep scrolling to read!

2023-05-EB-Intelichart-Trends EHRs Need to Watch-FINAL_Page_01

Chapter 1

Understanding the Patient Engagement Landscape

As Pam's story describes, patient engagement solutions have become integral to care delivery. 

Today's patient engagement is more than just giving patients access to their medical information. It streamlines patient appointments, helps increase the speed and accuracy of patient intake, enables virtual visits, and delivers better health outcomes through ongoing communication between patients and providers. 

These conveniences have become so important to patients that 69% are willing to switch providers for better services. 

When deciding on a patient engagement strategy, EHRs need to consider three critical industry pressures that will not go away for providers: 

  • The patient-as-consumer mindset will remain heavily influenced by technologies used in other sectors. 
  • Staffing challenges will continue, creating the need to automate and streamline workflows to save labor and keep patients satisfied with their care experience. 
  • Payment models will continue to evolve toward value-based care, prompting providers to utilize population health tools that allow patients to be monitored outside the in-person visit. 

Successful patient engagement solutions will respond to the market pressures of today and those to come. 

"Even if an EHR's core product is best-in-class, customers can mistake clunky patient engagement technology as a problem with the EHR rather than the patient engagement platform itself. "

A challenge for many EHRs when implementing patient engagement technology is the extent it requires to satisfy market demands. It's not enough for EHRs to simply check the patient engagement box with a patient portal. Patient engagement and its associated tools must be viewed as a specialty function, with provider and patient needs at the forefront of development. 

By meeting today's patient engagement demands and anticipating tomorrow's needs, EHRs can ensure they retain their hard-earned reputation for patient data excellence and retain market share for themselves and the providers they serve. 

Patient Engagement as Brand Ambassador 

Whether or not your organization builds patient engagement in-house or partners with a patient engagement expert, it's essential to recognize the perception of your product can be heavily influenced by the patient engagement tools that face providers and patients. 

Even if an EHR's core product is best-in-class, the end-user can mistake clunky patient engagement technology as a problem with the EHR rather than the patient engagement platform itself. 

That's why seeing patient engagement as a brand ambassador for your EHR is vital. 


Chapter 2

Key Patient Engagement Trends to Get Ahead of the Curve

As we know from the ramifications of the patient-as-consumer mindset, provider organizations must maintain a positive patient-facing digital experience. Often, they look to their EHRs to provide the tools necessary to communicate with patients, such as online scheduling tools, digitized patient intake, and telehealth. 

The more engagement solutions an EHR vendor can offer, the better positioned it will be to increase customer satisfaction and retain its market share. 

In addition to providing all the functionality today's patient expects, EHRs must look to the future to get ahead of trends and help their end-users stay ahead of the curve.  

Trend to watch #1:

Provider reviews' influence on healthcare provider choice.

According to a recent report by YouGov, online provider reviews and star ratings have become critical influencers to patients looking for a new provider. Instead of using or a health system's website, most consumers turn to Google Business Listings (Google). 

Patient engagement tools need to help providers excel in Google reviews, and an easy way to do this is to use data from patient satisfaction surveys. Ideally, patients that indicate a high level of satisfaction should be prompted to leave a review on Google. Automating survey workflows for patients that demonstrate a high level of satisfaction can ensure that the patients most likely to leave a positive review do so, decreasing the burden on staff to sift through reviews and reach out to patients. The result is more positive ratings and higher rates of new patient acquisition. 

Trend to watch #2:

Online patient self-scheduling as a strategy to increase market share.

According to a recent MGMA poll, 64% of healthcare organizations are prioritizing patient access and scheduling. And 47% indicated that online patient scheduling was their number one priority for 2023. 

The drive for patient self-scheduling likely comes from studies examining patient behaviors. One study found that 80% of patients prefer a provider that offers online patient self-scheduling. When healthcare organizations are competing, convenient scheduling functionality can be the difference between booking a new patient or that patient going elsewhere. Therefore, EHRs developing patient engagement tools need to be mindful of this market pressure.  

Mom holding baby at computer

Trend to watch #3:

Patients will expect data from remote patient monitoring devices to be incorporated into care plans.

According to the CDC, 60% of Americans have one or more chronic diseases. A recent Forrester survey predicts that a quarter of this population will use a remote patient monitoring (RPM) tool by the end of 2023. 

Patients will soon expect providers to use the information gathered in RPMs to guide care plans. With all the different apps and devices now available, not to mention the technology to come, it will be impossible for all the disparate information to feed directly into EHRs. The best way to harness this information is through patient-reported outcomes surveys (PROs) to keep providers in the loop. 

Patient engagement tools, such as automated surveys that can harness PROs and trigger next steps, will position providers to improve health outcomes. The reward for EHRs would be increased customer satisfaction with their patient engagement product and the perception that the EHR supports them in their value-based care (VBC) initiatives.  

"The more engagement solutions an EHR vendor can offer, the better positioned it will be to increase customer satisfaction and retain its market share. "

Trend to watch #4:

Virtual visit demand will stabilize.

A recent survey found that 75% of patients that have already used telehealth would choose a virtual visit in the future. Another survey reported that a priority for patient care choice is proximity to a facility, with 83% citing it as a deciding factor, regardless of facility quality. Although telehealth visits have tapered off since the height of the pandemic, these statistics point to future demand for virtual visits.   

The most successful telehealth programs begin with technology that integrates into existing workflows and with other patent engagement tools. Offering easy online self-scheduling and digitized patient intake alongside virtual visits increases convenience for patients while streamlining administrative tasks for staff.   

Women looking at tablet during telehealth appointment

Trend to watch #5:

More providers will be accused of information blocking.

The ONC has received over 400 information blocking complaints against providers since the Information Blocking Rule was enacted in April 2021. The EHR’s role in helping providers avoid these complaints is facilitating the open sharing of information between provider and patient, which is where patient engagement tools have a role.  

When technology processes break down, providers can be accused of information blocking when the reality is that their patient engagement platform could not promptly provide the information requested. 

The easiest way for EHR companies to help their end-users avoid these complaints is to use patient engagement technology that integrates seamlessly into existing workflows, avoiding bottlenecks that mistakenly are perceived as information blocking by patients. 

Trend to watch #6:

Patients will expect to track prior authorization requests. 

The Advancing Interoperability and Improving Prior Authorization Processes Proposed Rule will profoundly impact patient expectations regarding visibility into pre-authorization for care when enacted. The time to prepare for patient expectations around submitting and adjudicating these requests is now. 

Since prior authorizations are closely linked to patient demographics and insurance verification, it makes sense to use patient engagement to facilitate workflows and ensure the information is captured digitally from the outset rather than manually inputting it later. 

Patients will soon come to expect access to prior authorization decisions via their patient portal because, in their minds, the process will be like receiving lab results. EHRs and patient engagement technology need to look ahead to prepare for these future expectations. 

Chapter 3

Positioning Your EHR for Patient Engagement Success

The key to building a successful patient engagement platform is to offer the functionalities providers and their patients expect today, while anticipating their needs to come. 

It is common for EHRs to encounter roadblocks when developing patient engagement technology because keeping up with industry pressures requires an abundance of time and resources. The time spent focusing on engagement creates an inevitable shift away from maintaining and optimizing your core product – the EHR.  

Working with a partner is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way for EHRs to deliver a robust patient engagement solution and empower providers with the tools they need at every step of the patient journey.   

Let’s take a look at some of the key solutions you should consider adding to your patient engagement offering.  


Online patient self-scheduling – Increase your customers' patient satisfaction scores, streamline their administrative workflows, and help them build market share with a solution that allows new patients to book online. 

Automated reminders – Give your providers the tools to remind patients of upcoming appointments and overdue balances via a patient's preferred contact mode: text, email, or phone call. 

Patient portal – Create a digital front door for your end-users that allows patients access to their health information 24/7. 

"The most effective patient engagement is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Like each patient, each practice has unique needs and requirements."


Digitized intake – Decrease patient wait times and streamline check in workflows with electronic forms that patients can complete at home, in the car, or in the provider's lobby. 

Telehealth – Help your providers offer convenient virtual visits that mimic in-person workflows, allowing staff to check in patients so doctors can focus on care. 


Automated surveys – Help providers gauge patient satisfaction and capture PROs with a survey tool that can be customized with weighted responses, allowing next steps to be triggered by answers. 

Population health campaigns – Help organizations promote better health among chronic care populations with tools that can filter by diagnosis, procedure, or medication and deliver pre-set campaigns to educate patients and help them make better choices.  

Patient portal – Create a one-stop shop where patients can view lab results, send secure messages, and request prescription refills without picking up the phone. 

Doctor and patient talking about test results

The most effective patient engagement is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Like each patient, each practice has unique needs and requirements.  

EHR companies that partner with a patient engagement expert can cost-effectively deliver these solutions and efficiently meet the varied needs of their end-users with customizable solutions. In addition to reducing the heavy lift of compliance burdens and mitigating the costs of technology development, using the right partner can add an additional revenue stream to your organization. 


Chapter 4

Patient Engagement and the EHR

Patient engagement technology performance is a direct reflection of your EHR. If patient engagement is unreliable or does not provide a modern and intuitive interface, you could be putting client relationships at risk.  

In this eBook, we outlined six market trends that will affect patient engagement technology development: 

  • The influence of Google Business Listing reviews on patients looking for care. 
  • The use of online patient self-scheduling to increase market share. 
  • The coming expectation that RPM data should be incorporated into patient care.
  • Telehealth's role in patient care will become routine.
  • Providers will be turning to patient engagement to help them avoid information blocking complaints.
  • Patients will expect to be able to track prior authorizations in their patient portal.  

Even if an EHR's patient engagement solution is hitting the mark today, new rules, regulations, and marketplace pressures constantly require nimble technology to keep up with ever-changing demands resulting from market trends.  

Since patient engagement is a specialty function, it is often in an EHR's best interest to partner with a patient engagement specialist. Not only is it the most economical approach in terms of time and money, but it also allows EHRs to consistently provide the features their clients need, and patients demand.   

The patient engagement partner you can depend on

Partnering with InteliChart allows EHRs to focus on core competencies while knowing they are delivering gold-standard patient engagement features and benefits. InteliChart's commitment to providing reliable, user-friendly, and labor-saving solutions helps our partners stay at the forefront of patient and provider expectations. 


close chapters modal

Take this content with you by filling out the form to get a PDF.

Request a Demo Image