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Top 5 Patient Engagement Tools from 2021

Top 5 Patient Engagement Tools from 2021

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the way providers communicate and engage with patients is changing too. Patients are becoming more interested in taking control of their health, which includes being able to access their health information from virtually anywhere. As a result, patients have become more interested in using technology in ways that can help increase accuracy of information while reducing the burden on practices. This is becoming a win-win scenario. Medical clinics can reduce cost and labor by adopting new technologies, which patients are naturally proficient at using. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of these technologies to engage patients in new ways. This is resulting in some of the most reliable and up to date information the industry has ever seen.

Below are the top 5 patient engagement tools we have seen being used by our clients throughout 2021. While these tools will never replace in-person communication with medical professionals, we expect that they will continue to be used to increase patient engagement for years to come.

1. Telehealth

With a telehealth solution, practices will be able to offer virtual healthcare services to clients, like one-to-one and group video and messaging appointments, and securely share files and forms with patients. Practices can digitize the patient onboarding journey to boost acquisition from intake and informed consent, pre-appointment device testing, and automatic payment information.


2. Text Check-In

Providing the option to check-in via text message allows patients to check-in away from the front desk, reducing physical contact between patients and office staff. Text check-in messages and instructions can be customized by practice, providing flexibility in the process. By streamlining the intake process, practices can reduce patient wait times and increase time available for staff members to complete other administrative tasks.


3. Appointment Reminders and Follow Ups

Appointment Reminders can be sent via text message directly from EHR systems, allowing patients to confirm or decline appointments without a phone call. Because patients are very responsive to text messages, this helps reduce no-shows. Practices can also utilize Appointment Follow Ups to send information after the visit is complete. The automation of texting and email allows practices to engage patients both pre and post visit, providing a well-rounded experience.


4. Patient Portal

The Patient Portal allows patients to communicate securely with their doctor and provide important health and contact information. During the visit, doctors can upload resources to educate their patients by sending directly through the portal, leading to a more informed patient who can access information from virtually anywhere. In addition, the Patient Portal can display patient charges, allow payment via credit card, post money to practice account, and automatically update the patient’s ledger.


5. Questionnaires and Consent Forms

Consent forms can be assigned both manually and through the appointment schedule. Patients can then accept or decline the forms through their patient portal. Questionnaires are customizable and allow practices to collect information such as COVID-19 and depression screenings, satisfaction surveys, and more. Both forms and questionnaires can be sent prior to a patient’s visit to reduce input by nursing staff, allowing them to verify information provides rather than ask each question. This saves time for both patients and office staff while increasing efficiency at the practice.


These tools have been instrumental in engaging patients since the start of the pandemic and are here to stay. As technology continues to advance and patients continue to take a greater interest in their health, we can expect more patient engagement tools to emerge for years to come.


For more information on patient engagement tools available at Criterions, click here or complete the form below. ​

What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

There is an increasing demand for interoperability amongst healthcare providers and patients for access to and sharing of a patient’s medical records electronically. Providers want to participate in the exchange of data to improve patient care and outcomes. Health information exchanges (HIEs) facilitate the exchange of patient medical information electronically – securely and efficiently. In 2019, the utilization of local, state, and regional health information exchanges by hospitals increased to over 50-percent [1].

Types of Health Information Exchange Data:

There are three types of HIE that each offer unique access to health information [2].

1. Consumer Mediated Exchange - In this type of exchange, patients have more control over their records and their use among healthcare providers.
2. Query Based Exchange - In this type of exchange, a healthcare provider can request and search patient medical information across multiple different healthcare providers.
3. Directed Exchange - In this type of exchange, coordinated care is facilitated by a bi-directional transfer of patient medical information between healthcare providers.

Why Practices Need Health Information Exchanges?

HIE helps healthcare providers provide high quality care to patients by improving the speed and cost of patient outcomes. According to Qsource [3], the transfer of health information helps practices to:

1. Avoid errors – interoperability is only successful when there is a reduction of errors, which leads to cost effectiveness. In addition, avoiding readmissions can also be cost effective.
2. Improve diagnoses – when healthcare providers have increased access to tests and information about a patient, patient care is more effective and efficient.
3. Reduce testing – unnecessary testing improves patient satisfaction, promotes quality of care, and reduces costs.

As the demand for HIE increases, medical providers should work with their EHR software provider to implement a solution that meets the needs of their patients.

For more information on how Criterions can support your practice with HIE, complete the form below:

[1] Jason, C. (2021, March 26). Stages of Health Information Exchange Implementation. EHRIntelligence. https://ehrintelligence.com/features/stages-of-health-information-exchange-implementation.
[2] CapMinds. (2020, November 16) “The Essential Guide To Health Information Exchange.” CapMinds Blog The Essential Guide To Health Information Exchange. CapMinds. www.capminds.com/blog/the-essential-guide-to-health-information-exchange/#.
[3] Qsource. (2019, November 6). QPP: What is Health Information Exchange and How to Make it Work for Your Practice. Qsource. https://www.qsource.org/qpp-what-is-health-information-exchange-and-how-to-make-it-work-for-your-practice/.

Case Study: DocCare

Case Study: DocCare


Since the launch of Criterions TCMS product in 1997, DocCare has been utilizing Criterions’ software solutions to increase efficiency in their office. At that time, the practice had three office locations, but have since expanded to seven offices across New York. DocCare has over 23 physician providers who support 18 medical specialties, and operates under the guidance of Dr. Joel Hershey, who has been the with DocCare for over 20 years. In his role as Medical Director, Dr. Hershey oversees the physician staff in their mission to provide high-quality care to patients. After many years of utilizing paper for all patient and office records, the practice made the switch to electronic documentation in 2011 when they implemented Criterions EHR software.

Although there were hesitations moving from paper to an EHR, Dr. Hershey can’t imagine going back to the burdensome process of paper documentation. Over the years, DocCare has added many new features and enhancements to their EHR. Because DocCare is setup on the cloud, any updates made to the software are automatically shared with the entire team. Dr. Hershey says, “There is new functionality and upgrades added often and it's making huge difference for our practice.” These updates help DocCare continually improve the experience for both patients and administrative staff.

In 2011, Dr. Hershey was one of the first doctors involved with the federal and New York State Meaningful Use programs that were implemented. This support helped DocCare achieve government reporting requirements and improve overall quality of care for patients. He shares,

“The Product Manager at Criterions worked closely with me to rebuild our EHR so that it produced all the correct information in the format that the government required, and we were one of the first groups in New York state who began meaningful use.”


Long-Term Success

Over the years, Criterions EHR has continued to grow with the needs of DocCare. The staff love that they are able to easily customize the EHR system setup for each individual employee. Alex Hernandez, IT Manager at DocCare says,

“The training we received from the Criterions team was very helpful. They showed us exactly what the system can do and from there we've been able to customize templates for all positions easily.”

He shares that because they hire new practitioners frequently, it is helpful that the system is intuitive and only takes about a day or two to get used to.

DocCare also appreciates the success they have had using their EHR to adapt to the challenges of 2020. Because of the outbreak COVID-19, practices had to quickly shift from seeing patients in person to meeting virtually. Looking back on this transition, Dr. Hershey recounts, “Last year when we started doing a lot of telemedicine appointments because of COVID-19, we were able to get the appointment types up and running in the same day.”

In addition to optimizing their software to handle telemedicine calls, DocCare was also able to easily contact patients who were at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 to determine who should be contacted about getting the vaccine.

“We are able to quickly pull reports and send email blasts to specific people based on certain diagnosis groups or age groups,” says Dr. Hershey.

The reporting and emailing options within the Criterions software helped DocCare increase communication with patients, and in turn, increase patient satisfaction. Dr. Hershey explains, “We were able to pull a report in one minute to quickly improve the quality of what we can do.”

DocCare continues to provide comprehensive high quality medical care with the support of Criterions software. Together, we will continue to grow and offer new solutions that will improve the patient experience as well as increase efficiency for DocCare’s administrative staff.


Interested in learning how Criterions software can benefit your practice? Fill out the form below:

4 Benefits of User Rights and Responsibilities

4 Benefits of User Rights and Responsibilities

With the increased use of technology, data security has become of paramount importance to software development. The use of electronic health records (EHR's) in the medical field has demanded that patient and practice information is not only secure from external people but also from system users within the practice itself. One of the great characteristics of any EHR software is the ability to give users specific rights which align with their responsibilities within the software to maintain the required level of security.

There are many benefits of assigning user rights and responsibilities. In this blog post, we will highlight the top 4:

1. Patient Medical Information is Secure

When a patient visits a health care provider, they are trusting that their information is being protected from anyone who should not have access to it, this may include staff within the practice. This information can include patient progress notes, lab results, and user data who is also a patient at the practice. Within any EHR software, practice administrators should be able to limit which staff member or user group can have access to patient health information. This allows providers to ensure privacy and security of this confidential data.

2. Practice Reporting Information is Not Accessible to All Users

The ability to limit access to financial and system reporting is another key benefit of assigning user rights and responsibilities. Providers who use the software for billing may not want all users to have the ability to check their daily totals or other financials relating the practice. They may also want to limit users access the Meaningful Use and other reports relating to the patient diagnosis. By limiting access to different reports, you will protect your practice’s financials and system data.

3. Only Authorized Users Can Make Changes to the Software

Another important right is the ability to make changes in the actual software that may affect all users. A great example of this is a practice that may want limit who is able to add and change users’ rights in the software, as well as any set preferences that may affect the outcome of the documentation of a visit. This right ensures that only authorized users can make changes such as editing procedures, test codes, and more.

4. Select Authorized Users can be Assigned to Certain Patients

In 2016, a major music star was checked into a hospital and within a short time several internal staff members had accessed their information and leaked it to the press. This story highlights the importance of assigning user rights and responsibilities to ensure health information is only available to the appropriate staff members. Giving select users exclusive rights to certain patients allows for added privacy of patients who may be considered VIP, and also allows for accountability should information be leaked.

Assigning user rights and responsibilities is an important feature in any EHR software. This will allow your practice to maintain the highest quality of care, compliance, and security.


For questions or information on assigning user rights and responsibilities with Criterions EHR software, reach out using the form below!

3 Benefits of An Integrated Inventory Tracking Solution

3 Benefits of An Integrated Inventory Tracking Solution

If you are a provider that sells supplies or other products to your patients, you know that keeping track of inventory is important to your bottom line. It is crucial to have an accurate count of your inventory so that you are able to provide patients with the correct resources for treatment, however, manually tracking inventory can be a hassle.

With an inventory tracking solution that integrates with your EHR software, your practice will see increases in efficiency and patient satisfaction. Here are 3 key benefits of an integrated inventory tracking solution:


1. Increase Efficiency for Administrative Staff

      • Your Admin team can easily set products and add stock to system to ensure an accurate inventory profile.
      • Office staff can quickly locate previous orders in the system to offer patients products and solutions that are right for them.
      • By having an accurate view of available inventory at the counter, opportunities for additional sales will increase.

2. Easily Track All Products Sold

      • You can easily track a variety of inventory including DME, medications, and over the counter products.
      • As you sell products, your inventory will reflect the current supply on hand. This will help you manage inventory levels.
      • You will be able to see comprehensive tracking of items prescribed during a visit.

3. Avoid Running Low on Inventory

      • By tracking all inventory, you will be able to see which products or supplies you may need to replenish. This helps increase visibility of current stock.
      • Gain insights on inventory by analyzing reports available through your software.

By integrating your inventory tracking with your EHR software, your practice can increase sales, easily track products sold, and avoid running low on product. To learn more about the benefits of an integrated inventory tracking solution, contact us buy completing the form below!

Request a Demo!