If you’re an independent medical practitioner, it may seem antithetical to want to automate various systems in your practice. After all, the one big advantage you have over those large healthcare networks is that, since you’re independent, you can offer more personalized care to long-time patients.
Using tools to help automate various aspects of your practice, however, can relieve you of a lot of tedious paperwork and free you up to spend more time with your patients and make your practice run more efficiently. If you haven’t looked into automating certain systems yet, there are easy, inexpensive software tools available to help you.
Some of the areas you may want to automate are:
#1 Automated Patient Intake Forms
Typically, patients new to your practice must fill out a lengthy intake form on their first visit, which usually includes their personal information, medical history and insurance information. Patients often do not fill out the form completely, leaving gaps in the patient’s history that will take up valuable office time to fill. You may ask your patients to fill them out at home, but sometimes they will forget to bring them.
The best solution for this is to utilize automated patient intake software such as PatientPop, which offers the most popular medical practice software, or Klara. These are relatively inexpensive software packages that will enable your patients to complete new patient intake forms and provide insurance information at their convenience on their computers or portable mobile devices. This software will allow you to review your new patient’s information before the patient arrives at your office, making your practice more efficient.
#2 Automated Appointment and Reminders Notices
Scheduling and reminding patients of their appointments can be an all day task for your assistant, and having to constantly leave voicemails for your patients is simply inefficient. Text messages are the new way to remind people, especially tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z, of their appointments, and this automation can drastically reduce no shows. Automating this function can make your practice more time-efficient as it will ensure there are no gaps in your day due to unfilled appointments because patients simply forgot to come in. Inexpensive, HIPAA-compliant medical scheduling software such as SimplePractice, Experian Healthcare Patient Scheduling or Vagaro can be a useful tool to manage appointments and waitlists.
#3 Automated Billing System
Managing patient billing through a spreadsheet or, worse yet, on paper, is time consuming and prone to mistakes, which could be very costly to your practice. Consider automating your billing system with popular, low-cost medical billing software such CureMD, EpiCare or AdvancedMD. Billing software automatically sends invoices to patients, keeps track of patient payments and sends out late notices when a payment is overdue.
#4 Automated Patient Charts
As a physician, you want to spend the day focusing on patient care, and not spending hours manually typing updates to your patient charts. Automated patient chart software such as NextGen Healthcare, RXNT or Kareo Clinical would allow you to quickly update patient information computers, smartphones and tablets and link it automatically to cloud software, thus freeing up more time for you, the doctor.
#5 Automated Patient Interaction
Automated patient interaction would allow your patients to schedule or change appointments, request prescription refills or leave messages to ask follow up questions after appointments. Not only does this improve the efficiency of your practice, it also helps improve patient satisfaction by giving patients a quick and easy way to interface with your practice. The same system can be set up to send appointment reminders and follow up instructions to patients. Some of the most popular automated patient engagement software are from companies such as SR Health, Well and Luma Health.
#6 Automated Personalized Messages
As a physician, dentist or mental health provider, can you actually remember the birthdays of your patients, or when it’s time for them to receive wellness checkups or to remind them to take the necessary steps to ensure their good health? If the answer to those questions is no, then you should consider software such as Segment, BlueShift or Unboxing that can automate that process for you. The benefits from automating this function are quite clear: your patients will feel like they are getting individual attention, thus improving patient satisfaction, and you don’t have to be bogged down by manually sending personalized messages.
All-in-all, while purchasing and setting up automation software will be an additional cost for your practice, it can also be a blessing, as automating certain functions will increase patient satisfaction (which can, in turn, increase the positive reviews of your services). It will also make your office run much more efficiently, thus freeing up time to do what you do best – taking care of your patients.