Today’s population expects technology to be integrated into all of their everyday experiences, from ordering their morning caffeine boost via an app to turning on household appliances with the sound of their voice. Next up? The doctor’s office.
The technology explosion in healthcare isn’t just about genomics, new medications and surgical treatments. Every day new technology is being developed to enhance the patient experience – and integrating those technologies will be critical for healthcare providers to continue to keep their patients coming back. Competition is increasing, with major organizations like Apple and Google moving into the healthcare space with innovative tools and approaches to healthcare.
Healthcare providers need to be ready for this rapidly changing marketplace. So, how do you start?
Treat Patients Like Consumers – Because They Are
Let’s face it – many people dread going to the doctor’s office. Not because they dislike the doctor, but because the experience is lacking. Long wait times and filling out seemingly endless paperwork make the entire experience into an unnecessarily stressful ordeal. The first step is to make things easier for patients.
Start by making it simple for patients to see their provider, when and how it works best for them. Online scheduling tools make it stress-free for patients to secure an appointment, input data and make payments (and minimized dreaded Monday morning call volumes). Check-in patients using tablets, and consider offering telemedicine options for patients who can’t make it into the office. Companies like Forward are leading the way – the organization offers a monthly membership giving subscribers 24/7 access to doctors without copays, plus access to medical records via an app.
Integrate Artificial Intelligence into Your Practice
Artificial intelligence tools can help make your practice more efficient by automating repetitive tasks, freeing up staff’s time to focus on more important activities and creating opportunities to improve quality and efficiency in your practice. The simplest place to start is replacing typing with dictation via voice recognition software. Imagine no more typing into that EMR! Voice recognition accuracy has improved dramatically and can save your practice significant time and money.
Second, take a look at your revenue cycle functions. Billing and collections are repetitive task functions that lend themselves to AI programs. For example, versus calling to check on patient claims, certain AI software can be programmed to check the status of claims and report those claims that need human intervention, following up on thousands more claims than a normal human biller can.
Consider Total Wellness, Not Just Traditional Health
By 2025, millennials will represent 75 percent of the workforce … meaning they’re also one of the largest drivers of healthcare decisions. An incredibly tech savvy generation, millennials have different expectations for their healthcare than previous groups. To millennials, being “healthy” isn’t just about not being sick or having a normal BMI – it’s about total wellness. They’re looking for physicians to help them with a complete lifestyle, including nutrition and exercise. They also have the full extent of the internet at their fingertips, doing their own research on health concerns – meaning physicians must be prepared to answer questions and explain the reasoning for recommended tests and prescriptions.
Meet millennials’ expectations by offering them technology that helps them feel in control of their own health. Tools like Physitrack allow you to engage with patients and monitor their prescribed at-home exercise and physical rehabilitation, while blue-tooth enabled data from smart watches can track a patient’s health then send findings to physicians for real-time monitoring. Help patients reach their wellness goals with health counseling or by stocking special nutritional tools at the office for easy purchase (also providing you with an additional revenue stream).
Despite any upfront expenses, adding technology to your practice is an investment that will be well worth it. When done correctly, technology can help improve the patient experience and recruit new patients – also leading to a better bottom line.