Patient portal recruitment and retention are common hurdles across the field of connected health. Our client and InstantPHR user, Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), has met this challenge head on. Through webinars, mailings, emails, social media updates as well as portal enhancements, content updates and incorporating user feedback, IDF has posted impressive usage numbers. More importantly, those percentages have continued to rise steadily since deployment in the fall of 2014.
The goal of IDF’s outreach and marketing campaigns were to not only increase usage of IDF’s retooled electronic health record, IDF ePHR, but also to encourage consent to participate in the PI CONNECT, the new IDF Patient-Powered Research Network. PI CONNECT is part of PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. Consenting into the program allows de-identified patient data entered in IDF ePHR to be shared with the United States Immunodeficiency Network (USIDNET) to be used for research. The long term goal of PI CONNECT is to boost the efficiency of research and shift away from investigator studies to patient centered studies, where patient experience is the driver toward change.
One of the most creative marketing campaigns IDF ran was surrounding the IDF ePHR Challenge. Users who registered for a new patient portal account automatically received free portable electronic chargers to “Power Up Your Health” and entry into a drawing for prizes like iPads and gift cards. To promote the challenge, IDF sent out postcards, provided handouts to over 10,000 IDF community members and promoted via their website and social media. The three-month initiative was an overwhelming success with over 1,000 people signing up to begin tracking and improving their health.
An active blog has also been beneficial to IDF. In a recent post, a user touted the usability and value of IDF ePHR addressing some of the traditional trouble spots like first time registration and uploading initial data. The blog details the convenience that IDF ePHR offers users. In particular, the ability to print a summary sheet not only for appointments, but as a resource in an emergency. The visual of the 50lb binder pictured in the blog hammers home how cumbersome manually tracking chronic illness can be.
As a non-profit organization, IDF faces different challenges for recruiting patients to their portal than traditional patient portal providers, like hospital and physician offices. These organizations benefit from face-to-face interactions with patients and can therefore sign them up to the portal in the office. IDF, on the other hand, does not have this luxury. Yet despite these challenges, IDF has proved that with a little creative, out of the box thinking you can reach your patients and share the value of your patient portal.