Using Technology to Build an Integrated Practice #6 of 6
See how the fully-automated private practice can improve patient engagement & outcomes.
The sixth blog in a 6-part series
According to a survey conducted by The Physicians Foundation1 to more than 17,000 physicians nationwide, physicians spend 21% of their time engaged in non-clinical paperwork. Given a workforce of approximately 800,000 physicians in active patient care, this equates to 168,000 physician FTEs not engaged in clinical activities.
Additionally, due to rising regulatory burdens and the growing demand for their services, 80% of the responding physicians indicate they are overextended or at capacity, with no time to see additional patients. You may ask, what are the other 20% doing correctly? Only 14% of the 80% say they have the time needed to provide the highest standards of care. Given that a majority of physicians are at or over capacity, it’s not surprising that 72% feel that external factors such as third-party authorizations and higher deductibles significantly detract from providing quality of care. These factors have a profound impact on how care is delivered and received.
But how can the independent practice compete with the resources of hospitals and large health systems? A technology-enabled, integrated practice is key to solve the physician burnout and patient engagement dilemmas.
The Importance of Implementing Technology
Today the most successful and profitable independent practices rest on a foundation of office technology that allows them to work more efficiently, maintain a better work/life balance, grow their practice, reduce errors and provide an excellent patient experience.
From patient care to management of your medical practice, innovation in technology continues to prove its worth in all aspects of healthcare. As stated in Forbes,2 technology will continue to shape and change the business of healthcare both in day-to-day duties and overall patient care. Technology has worked to improve the medical field, but without a complete understanding of the integration of these technologies into a healthcare system, the value of these innovations is diminished. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date on available tools to most effectively advance your independent practice. The responsibility of implementing new technologies into your practice often falls on the office manager. Available technologies can be expensive, and the money and effort spent on acquiring these tools can go to waste if your office manager, and healthcare provider(s) alike, lacks adequate comprehension of their application or value.
It’s also important to understand that technology is a tool that should be used to enhance the patient experience and allow you to become a better physician; to enable you to be more efficient and in touch with your patients.
The types of technologies that prove to significantly improve independent practices are becoming more readily accessible and affordable. Many have found that each of these areas have an important role to play in every element of practice success.
Let’s take a look at the sixth building block of integrated technologies that go into the fully-automated independent practice that will help you better manage your time and improve patient engagement and practice outcomes:
#6 Customer satisfaction & patient engagement
An excellent patient experience doesn’t just focus on treating an ailment. Instead, it encompasses the entire patient journey – from appointment scheduling, reminders and check-in to setting up diagnostic tests, follow-up visits, and every touch point in-between. The most successful medical practices have a few important factors in common. They are able to provide a perfect balance between outstanding care for their patients and business goals and objectives.
It is well known that patients are best served with the continuity of care that comes from using one practice for as many needs as possible, however, people have a variety of healthcare options these days; from retail walk-in clinics to online-only providers, and everything in between. Customers are also responsible for a greater portion of healthcare costs, which gives them a bigger incentive to shop around. As further incentive, the 2017 deadline is approaching for reporting patient satisfaction to CMS. It’s more important than ever to create a plan that works toward improving your patient experience scores.
Practices that provide an exceptional customer experience capture patient loyalty and create meaningful patient relationships. As discussed earlier, making front desk operations as convenient as possible and streamlining the patient check-in process is a good place to start, along with integrated systems that make it more convenient for patients and your staff. Offering telemedicine can have a huge impact on whether or not a patient chooses your practice in the first place, then keeping them as a loyal patient for a length of time.
What Sets the Best Performing Practices Apart?
Profitability and Revenue Growth
Providers share the common goal of helping people lead healthier, more enjoyable lives. In order to achieve this, it’s necessary to focus on both high-quality patient care and the bottom line. The practice is a business after all, and revenue growth and cost control are rightfully top of mind concerns.
The most limited resource in any practice is each provider’s time. There are only so many billable hours in a day, so it’s essential to maximize the amount of time that results in earning revenue. Unpaid telephone follow-up calls, patient no-shows, and downtime between patients all eat into practice profitability.
Technology is a key enabler of a patient journey’s success, and independent practices can leverage technology to successfully enhance and elevate the patient experience and overall patient outcomes. Providers who can demonstrate that they care about their patients’ time, convenience and mobility by providing healthcare on the patient’s terms will be at a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Similarly, the provider who facilitates the patient journey will keep the patient. The key is through an integrated technology-driven practice.
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- The Physicians Foundation. 2016 Survey of America’s Physicians Practice Patterns & Perspective, September 21, 2016.
- Lee, Ellen. 5 Ways Technology is Transforming Health Care.