7 Essential Healthcare Technologies Every Practitioner Should Implement

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Have you thought about how telehealth and new automation technology can help grow your medical practice?

With the new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for practitioners to evaluate emerging health care technologies that have the potential to help grow their practice. Keep reading to find out 7 straight-forward ways practitioners can use new medical technology to help modernize any size medical practice.

Did you know?
Telehealth or telemedicine, by definition, uses technology to improve the efficiency of communications between healthcare providers, patients, and clinics. (1)(2)

person on a laptop

New digital medical technology, such as automated appointment reminders, can give you more time as a practitioner to focus on delivering the best possible care.

Telemedicine: 7 ways practitioners are using new healthcare technologies to improve healthcare

Running a physician’s practice can be complicated. It involves a lot of moving parts, to say the least. It requires a variety of skill sets and tools and technology, and a lot more business savvy than is formally taught in medical school. Keeping up with all the administrative duties often leaves little time for physicians to focus on what matters most — providing quality care to patients.

Luckily, that’s where telemedicine comes in. There are countless new healthcare software tools and telehealth tactics you can use to help streamline and modernize any medical practice.

Did you know?
Telehealth improves the overall quality of patient care. A recent review of telemedicine studies found that both telephone-based support and telemonitoring of vital signs of people with heart failure reduced the risk of death and hospitalization for heart failure and improved quality of life. (3)

1. Give your patients the option to self-schedule & book online

Why not make it easy for your patients to book appointments online? Most consumers today are used to interacting with simple interfaces that give them the option to make choices in their own time. These days, you don’t have to dial and talk to someone on the other end of the phone to make an appointment at the DMV or book a spot in a workout class —and from a patient’s point of view, an appointment should be just as easy.

Try placing a ‘Book your next appointment’ button prominently on your website. And if you’ve gone ahead and implemented automated emails, you can send an email reminder to patients to schedule and book their annual appointment. By having an online booking interface, you give your patients the option to book at their convenience.

Ideally, you want to use an online booking platform that seamlessly integrates with your front office calendar. This way, once you are up and running on digital appointments, you can easily send email and text appointment reminders. This will help you eliminate costly no-shows.

Did you know?
Over 50% of appointments booked online are from new patients. (4)

person sitting in a chair looking at their phone

Text and email reminders can go a long way when it comes to appointments, refills, and medical compliance.

2. Offer virtual appointments

Do you give your patients the option to book virtual appointments?

Patients don’t always want to make the trip to their practitioner’s office for an annual check-up or for a question they have about supplements. Especially when the office hours always seem to coincide with a patient’s work schedule. Virtual visits give patients the ability to receive treatment without the hassle of coming to the physical office.

Virtual visits provide a fast, secure, cost-effective, and easy way to provide care while a patient uses their smartphone, computer, or tablet. Plus, this gives practitioners the ability to take a virtual appointment from wherever they can connect to WiFi. (5)

Virtual video appointments also provide unparalleled flexibility for busy patients. With virtual visits, there is no stress about commuting and parking. There is less sitting and waiting, which means significant time savings. Plus, patients get the flexibility of seeing a practitioner on their time. (6)

And it can be an especially valuable tool to use with patients who are often late to appointments or cancel due to a hectic schedule.

Offering virtual appointments to your list of services provides patients with simple, on-demand care – without the added time and cost of most in-person visits!

Virtual care also allows you to connect with a broader range of patients. This gives a lot of patients living in rural areas better access to quality healthcare without the practitioner needing to commute. It also gives practitioners the ability to serve a more extensive and diverse patient base.

3. Send out automated reminders to patients by email and text

There are countless reasons why patients miss appointments. And the average value of a single visit lost can end up being several hundred dollars. Ouch! Any practitioner on a lean budget knows these costs can end up being in the thousands or tens of thousands every month. Automated alerts and reminders targeting patients are advantageous telehealth tools for any medical practice. (7)

It can be helpful to set up automatic reminders and also require a patient to confirm an appointment by text 24-48 hours prior, depending on your practice volume. For example, if a patient books online through your website, send over a text message and email 72 hours before the appointment to confirm or reschedule to a more convenient time.

Technologies like Fullscript, allow practitioners to set up refill reminders per product recommended for individual patients. This feature is built into the technology and makes practitioners feel at ease when they seek solutions for improved patient adherence.

Did you know?
Text reminders can be used to help reach patients outside of regular clinic settings, can be individualized, and there is a minimal age barrier in the efficacy of automated reminders sent to patients. (7)

You can also set up automated emails to new patients specific to their first treatment session. For example, you can email them the week before their appointment letting them know about what they should expect when becoming a patient at your practice. (8)

Once a patient confirms an appointment, you can send a text the day before their appointment to remind them of the time and address.

If you as a practitioner are running late, you also have the option of letting your patient know instead of keeping them in the waiting room for hours. You can text all your patients you are seeing that day to let them know you are running late.

4. Make digital intake forms available to patients

Several benefits come with having digital intake forms available for patients on your website. For one thing, your patients can fill out their intake forms at their leisure.

Digital intake forms also cut out the time a patient would typically spend sitting out in a waiting room with a clipboard or tablet. It also allows your practice to check out the patient’s insurance benefits and declutter your office from all that paperwork. (9)

Depending on what software you are using on your backend for digital intake, digital forms can be sent automatically via email and text. You can also send a message based on the appointment type from your schedule.

Before you start implementing digital intake forms, keep in mind you need to choose a digital intake service provider that is HIPAA compliant. It’s important to consider security when you are storing a good amount of sensitive patient information. That’s where using cloud storage comes into play. (10)

5. Find a secure way to share patient information

If you are using and sharing data from your patient’s health data via online intake forms, surveys, emails, you should consider cloud storage. (11)

Cloud storage, also known as cloud computing, is a way of saving the data that’s uploaded from your computer’s hard drive to another hard drive. This hard drive often belongs to a cloud storage service that has data encryption.

Using a cloud for your patient information will save you time and space. By having all of your patient files accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection, you don’t have to make a trip to the office.

You can also easily send files to colleagues while you are on the go. And as a bonus, you don’t have to worry about organizing paperwork at the office anymore!

6. Set up accounts payable (AP) automation for easy payment

How do you process invoices and payments from patients? Paper-based accounts payable processes are outdated and full of drawbacks such as manual input errors and the risk of noncompliance with reporting regulations. It can be a huge time saver to implement accounts payable automation, which allows you to cut your invoice processing time in half.

patient paying at reception

By setting up accounts payable automation, you can cut your invoice processing time in half. It’s easy and convenient.

Whether you have your own private practice or work for a large health company, automating your accounts payable could eliminate costly, time-consuming manual tasks.

Did you know?
AP automation solution removes processing bottlenecks and gives you more time to focus on caring for patients.

7. Record virtual and in-office appointments

Have you considered recording your appointments with patients, storing, and sharing them via a patient portal platform that is HIPAA compliant? Recording consultations often helps patients better understand and recall the information their practitioner gives them during an appointment. (12)

Today, many practitioners are moving to a more transparent model with their patients, allowing patients to take a more active role in their healthcare. Having access to appointments by video or audio files makes it easier for patients to clarify something they may have missed during an appointment. (13)

The bottom line

While implementing these suggestions may feel like a lot — it doesn’t have to be! Software for online bookings, digital intakes, virtual appointments, and emailed and text message appointment reminders can all be found on one platform.

By employing some or all of the emerging technology-centric strategies listed above, you, as a practitioner, have more time to focus on providing quality care to patients. Regardless of digital tools you choose, we promise telehealth will help optimize your efficiency, boost your patient engagement, boost your professional reputation, and help grow your practice.

Looking for other ways to help market your medical practice and improve patient compliance? Check out our article on all the creative ways you can market your medical practice.

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