The Ultimate Tech Guide For Effective Practice Management

Technology has the potential to be one of the biggest contributors to streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency in your practice. Forward-thinking healthcare providers and healthcare business leaders are already on the lookout for ways to incorporate technology in hospital operation.

In a recent survey that asked healthcare leaders if they are looking to adopt tech solutions to make their practice more effective, 70 percent of the participants responded in affirmative. Being open to adopting technology may be the first step to practice efficiency, but having a concrete game plan to follow through is the key to achieving it. This is exactly what strategically planned practice management makes possible.

What is practice management?

Practice management covers all the business aspects of a medical practice including finance, human resources, marketing, information technology, compliance, billing and operations. From optimizing the patient experience to organizing the office workflow, practice management is concerned with streamlining the efforts within the medical practice towards one end goal – practice efficiency.

Technology can help physicians handle the administrative burden and allow them to focus on the care aspect. As practitioners strive to operate efficiently and deliver better care, we have compiled a comprehensive list of ways to leverage technology and ensure practice efficiency.

6 technology solutions for a thriving healthcare practice

Apart from actual patient care processes like diagnosis and treatment, the healthcare delivery cycle involves a number of supplementary systems that run in the background. These behind the scenes activities can be time-consuming and often take precious time away from patients’ care.

Automating the traditionally manual practices through technology can reduce the workload, ease stress and burnout, introduce efficiency into the process, expedite patient care and boost revenue at the same time. Here is how you can do the same.

1. Automate patient appointment scheduling

Effective patient scheduling lays down the foundation of a successful medical practice. Booking health appointments over the phone is often a frustrating and time consuming affair for the patients and staff alike. Patients are restricted to office hours for scheduling their appointments. Practice staff have to offer the availability of slots one after the other till the patients choose a time that suits their needs.

Giving patients the control over scheduling their own appointments saves time and effort for your practice while giving them better control and transparency. Since the patients have a clear visualization of the slots available, they can choose a time that best meets their needs. This lays the groundwork for high levels of patient satisfaction in the long run.

Phone appointments frequently need follow up reminders to be sent separately so that patients don’t miss out on their visit. Using online scheduling software or enabling patients to book their own appointment through a user-friendly scheduling app, has the potential to significantly lower patient no-show incidents. The system can be automated to send out reminder calls, messages and/or emails to the patients just before the scheduled time which boosts patient engagement and reduces missed appointments.

2. Enabling self-check-in

Manual check-in involves the patients filling out multiple admission forms. The information is later transcribed into the practice management system by the hospital staff. This is both time-consuming and prone to errors. Illegible handwriting may result in data entry errors which are a leading cause of claim denials which ultimately hurts the revenue of your medical practice.

Developing a mobile or tablet-based application for automating patient check-ins is a hassle-free method to reduce data entry errors. By filling up the check-in forms during the wait times can be made a constructive experience for the patients. Not only are the patients kept engaged while waiting for the physician, the chances of transcription errors are lowered while reducing the existing workload on the staff.

Integration with the electronic health record (EHR) can also save time for your practice. Inclusion of certain fields like the chief complaint, history of presenting illness, past medical history, allergies, ongoing medications, etc. at the time of check in can let the physicians be better informed in advance. Armed with a personalized patient profile, physicians can deliver better experiences and spend more time in patient care rather than documentation.

3. Build a Wayfinding application

Navigating through the hospital passageways can be a daunting journey for the patients and their caregivers. Having dedicated staff to point visitors in the right direction can be a huge overhead while relying on old school signages can be challenging for the patients. Not only does it result in a poor patient experience, but it also has a negative impact on the revenue figures of your healthcare facility.

Designing a wayfinding app for your healthcare practice makes it accessible to the visitors and makes it rank higher on the patient experience scale. Analysis of the data can also help you identify the potential bottlenecks within the facility where time to deliver care is longer and consecutively streamline the healthcare delivery process.

4. Leverage technology to streamline patient communication

Your practice staff may end up spending hours engaging in conversations with patients. From phone calls to remind about upcoming appointments to intimations of due invoices and reminders for booking follow up appointments, a huge chunk of time and effort goes in establishing lines of communication with the patients.

On top of this staff also needs to respond to patient queries and any questions they might have. The good news is, technology can help you automate these conversations, allowing for more time to be spent engaging with patients who are physically present in the office. A recent poll found that a majority of people actually find phone calls intrusive and prefer texts or emails over phone reminders.

A hospital relationship management software integrated with the hospital management system can automate the follow-up reminders, saving time and effort for your practice. Leveraging healthcare chatbots is another innovative solution that forward-facing healthcare practitioners are incorporating to streamline patient communication.

The application of chatbots in the healthcare realm are numerous and we are just beginning to see its implementation. The data collected by the chatbots, once safeguarded by necessary data encryptions in compliance with HIPAA norms, can provide vital insights into a patient’s physical and emotional well being. It can also help boost patient engagement and satisfaction levels at the same time.

5. Telehealth integration for practice efficiency

Whether you decide to include it as an adjunct to existing healthcare services or decide to go fully remote, integration of telemedicine offers tremendous benefits and has the potential to skyrocket the efficiency of your practice. The patients do not have to restrict themselves to office hours to seek treatment. Elimination of commute and lesser chances of missed appointments makes scheduling of appointments super effective.

Even if you are looking to implement it as an add on to your existing practice, using telemedicine as a tool to triage patients can make healthcare delivery considerably more efficient. By segregating patients on the basis of priority, flow of services can be better managed, improving patient outcomes in the long run.

6. Patient portals and paperless claim processing

A lot of hospitals and healthcare organizations have patient portals, but in order to have truly effective medical practice, a user friendly design and ensuring a HIPAA compliant website must be made top priorities to ensure widespread adoption. Patients can use the portal to access their medical records, communicate with the practice and their providers, refill prescriptions, check results of the lab tests and pay bills.

According to the American medical association, even with the advances in technology, a significant percentage of claim submission and processing is still paper-based. Electronic filing of claims is not only a cost saving opportunity but a healthcare necessity. Standardization of electronic claim filing has the potential to accelerate processing times while increasing the ROI.

Efficiency of electronic processing benefits the providers, insurers and healthcare industry as a whole. Change rarely happens overnight but a focus on incorporating technology to achieve practice efficiency is a step in the right direction.

Closing words

Excelling at practice management is the end goal of efficient healthcare organizations. Integration of tech solutions within your medical practice requires a strategic vision and a planned implementation. Having seasoned tech experts on your side during your journey of tech adoption is always an added asset.

With 9+ years of specialized experience in the healthcare industry, Arkenea is a trusted healthcare software development company. Interested in discussing your requirements with our team of expert consultants? Get in touch with us today.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.