Automating Your Patient Care
Private medical practices pride themselves on giving their patients personal attention and care. So automation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a private clinic, however, smaller practices can benefit greatly from automation.
Automation doesn’t mean you won’t continue providing excellent personalized care. It can actually help enhance your care and your patient’s experience with your practice, freeing up more time for you to focus on excellent service and improving the effectiveness of your communication with your patients when they’re not sitting in front of you.
Items such as scheduling, patient surveys, refill requests and billing are all part of the patient’s interaction with your clinic. Automation can make all of these interactions more efficient and more convenient.
Here are some ways your private practice can enhance patient care with automation:
Intake forms take up a lot of your time. Most practices have new patients fill out a form once they arrive. Sometimes the patient may not know all of the information requested on the form, leaving it incomplete, or worse, leaving the practitioner with an incomplete view of the patient’s history. Some practices have enabled online forms that request the patient to print out the form and bring it in with them.
But this solution also has its drawbacks: the patient might not have a printer at home or access to one or they might forget to bring the form with them to the appointment. By automating an intake form that the patient can fill out right there on an iPad, the form gets completed digitally and the practitioner now has the opportunity to review the patient’s history before they arrive for their first appointment, improving patient care and efficiencies.
Are you still calling your patients and leaving voicemails? Time to modernize! Did you know that 30 percent of voicemails go unheard for 3 days or more? And there’s an entire generation who doesn’t even use voicemail (the millennials, who else?).
Adopting a texting service is an effective and convenient way to improve your scheduling. Reduced no-shows mean you can fill empty slots with other patients, increasing business. Texting also reduces the amount of time it takes to schedule appointments (just like ExamOne laboratory) and it’s more effective than voice calls.
Taking advantage of medical scheduling software also helps. With these tools, you’ll be able to manage patient waitlists and automatically assign available appointment times to your patients. You will have the complete appointment stories of all your patients in one place, which is easy to access and analyze.
Follow-up care and health tips are a vital part of a private clinic’s practice. As your practice grows, it may be harder for you to keep tabs on all your patients and to send personalized tips. Follow-up messages to each individual patient can quickly become time-consuming.
By segmenting your patient list according to health categories, you can automatically send relevant follow-up messages via email or an app with one click. This allows you to send them updates and tips with more frequency without taking hours out of your day.
Patients will appreciate the attention and care, and with more frequent updates, they’ll be more likely to follow through on post-visit self-care.
Physicians spend a lot of time entering patient chart data at the end of the day. Imagine if this burdensome task suddenly became obsolete. Today, with tablets, cell phones and other portable devices, doctors can enter patient information and link it to the clinic’s cloud software without having to spend hours manually typing hand-written information at the end of each day. With all this extra time, you can see more patients with less work.
Automation can go both ways. Apps and online forms can allow patients to contact your clinic about things such as scheduling or changing their appointment, requesting a refill or other tasks that make it both easier for them to communicate and easier for you to respond quickly.
By allowing patients to reach you in ways that are convenient and efficient, you increase their satisfaction with your service. A University of Minnesota study confirms that “Appointment scheduling systems lie at the intersection of efficiency and timely access to health services.”
A simple solution such as setting up a scheduling feature on your website that allows patients to schedule an appointment online and having that calendar integrated with your practice management system goes a long way to improving the patient’s experience with your clinic.
That same scheduling feature collects patient data that allows you to send an appointment reminder and other messages relevant to the patient’s care needs.
Happy birthday messages
The personalized touch of a private clinic makes patients feel like they’re getting a more attentive level of care. Sending birthday messages when it’s the patient’s birthday can improve the patient-practitioner relationship and enhance their overall view of your practice.
Once the job of the clinic’s administrative assistant to review which patients would be celebrating a birthday that month and send cards to them, this process can now be automated so that you can continue giving that extra attention, but with less time and effort.
After you’ve got the patient’s birthday information, it’s easy to integrate with a messaging program that will automatically send an email or a text to the patient on their birthday. By adding their name, and crafting a birthday email, you can deliver a truly personalized patient experience with a short heart-warming message.
To wrap up: Private clinics have a high standard of personalized patient care to uphold. Automation can help maintain and even raise this standard. Automated intake forms decrease no-shows, plus previewing a patient’s history before their first appointment, while sending appointment reminder texts, helps get the most out of your schedule.
If you decide to use automation of time-consuming tasks, you will free up more time to provide excellent patient care. Even better, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your customer service and personalized communication to your patients.
Tracy Blanchard’s writing focuses on communications and small business. She enjoys sharing useful how-to advice for those businesses that want to optimize their workflow, improve communication with employees, and take their customer service to a higher level.