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Digitize admin tasks to reduce staff burdens


Craig Cooper, product manager at AdvancedMD, was recently interviewed about how to digitize your practice to boost staff efficiency and decrease wait times.

Physicians enter the medical profession because they want to take care of patients, not focus on administrative tasks. Yet these tasks continue to dominate their time and attention, leading to frustration and burnout. Administrative tasks also overwhelm staff, fueling job dissatisfaction and turnover.

“If you find yourself saying, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’ then it’s time to take action,” says Rob Wiley, head of marketing and product strategy at Formstack, a workflow and process automation vendor in Fishers, Indiana.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly necessary for practices to shift certain time-consuming administrative tasks from a manual to a digital workflow, and to use digital methods for services that have been done in person in the past.

Beyond COVID-19, this shift can also help practices meet patient demands in an era of health care consumerism, says Michael MorganCEO of Updox, a customer relationship management vendor in Dublin, Ohio. “Patients expect to be treated like customers,” he says. “You can’t use old processes — phone calls, paper and voicemail.”

Consider digitizing these three tasks:

Patient check-in

Having patients check themselves in can boost staff efficiency while simultaneously decreasing patient wait times, says Craig Cooper, product manager at AdvancedMD, a cloud-based software provider in South Jordan, Utah. Using practice-owned tablets or kiosks that connect directly to a secure check-in app, patients validate demographic and insurance information and more, all without interacting with front office staff.

When using the check-in app, patients also can review outstanding balances and pay the amount owed, reducing the time staff members spend following up with unpaid invoices, Cooper says.

In December 2017, Thomas Miller, M.D., a family physician in Arlington, Texas, started having patients use a self check-in process. “I have experienced a significant return on investment,” Miller says. “It streamlines check-in and frees my staff for other tasks.”

Anything physicians can do to use less paper is beneficial, Wiley says. Paper forms have many drawbacks: Patients aren’t usually able to complete them in advance and don’t arrive early enough to complete them prior to their appointment; patient handwriting may be illegible; and front office staff must spend time scanning the forms into the electronic health records system (EHR).

“Using mobile-friendly forms allows patients to provide their information from any device at any time before their appointment, which increases efficiency for patients and providers alike,” Wiley says. These HIPAA-compliant forms can then be automatically uploaded to the patient’s record, giving providers immediate access to the information that’s critical for accurate diagnosis and successful treatment.

Continue reading the article to find out all three of the tasks and learn all of the tips for success for each.


Courtesy of Lisa Eramo of Medical Economics.


Topic: EMR/EHR, Medical Billing, Telemedicine

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