We all hear stories about the way healthcare used to be, when doctors were neighbors and friends. It’s easy to get nostalgic and long for the good old days. The local doctor made a house call when they heard about a very sick child or dropped by the house for coffee to talk about an upcoming surgery.
Towns grew into cities, technology enabled quicker visits, medical staffs grew to accommodate more sick people, and patients began to feel more like a number and less like a person. Add the regulation and paperwork and it’s easy to understand how doctors also felt less like doctors. Physician dissatisfaction grew for so many reasons.
It’s easy to forget that while this disconnect between doctors and their patients widened, a lot of good things were happening in the world of medicine. New drugs were created eradicating major health threats. New technologies and processes were developed to improve the treatment and management of disease. Conditions that were once life-threatening became manageable.
With all these changes the expectations of patients changed. They wanted more convenient care, better service, and more options. They consumed healthcare in new ways. With more options available for healthcare and costs rising, they wanted healthcare to reflect their lives.
Urgent care emerged, filling the gaps consumers demanded. True engagement with patients, however, was still a challenge—and continues to be. As convenient care became a bigger segment of the healthcare market, urgent care organizations and practices were able to measure their increasing productivity and throughput creating more efficiencies. Electronic medical records and practice management software allowed patients greater transparency and more convenience.
We created digital portals, online appointment setting, and surveys to gauge patient satisfaction. But were we really engaging patients with these advancements? Is there a next step in patient engagement?
If urgent care and other on-demand healthcare providers are going to improve engagement, we have to take the next step for patients and providers.
Urgent care organizations must continue to improve convenience for patients, moving beyond online appointments. In our digital world, allowing patients to get in line online is a must-have. Communicating their anticipated wait time according to patient preference furthers engagement.
Electronic patient registration (EPR) from a mobile device is quickly becoming the norm, adding convenience beyond online scheduling for patients who want that options. EPR increases accuracy in the electronic record enabling smoother processing of claims, fewer rejections, and quicker payment. While this improves the revenue cycle for providers and simplifies the workload of the front desk, it also gives your patients peace of mind, reduces their anxiety, and shortens their in-clinic wait time.
Patients are also asking for transparency into their comprehensive medical record without logging into various sites and portals, increasing the need for accurate sharing of medical information electronically from provider to provider in the patient’s continuum of care. The episodic nature of urgent care visits makes it essential that we interface with primary care providers to determine the best next step for their patients.
Doctors are without a doubt still focused on providing the best treatment for their patients, and often see technology as a barrier to building relationships. If we’re honest, first generation EMR software was a little clunky and took some of the focus off the patient. We’ve made great strides in this area with smarter technologies that streamline documentation, but we can do better.
As we improve our interfaces with practitioners in mind, fewer clicks and updated regulations that lessen the need for duplicate entry will allow healthcare providers to do what they do best”connect with their patients. Ultimately, the technology should fade into the background and perform with the fewest possible touches, while still maintaining the integrity of the doctor/patient interaction.
Better technologies connect the patient experience, the physician experience, and the staff experience, improving patient engagement all along the way.
According to a study published in Journal of Medical Practice Management in 2016, among 35K doctor reviews, poor communication is patients’ chief frustration ” not quality of care. Your front desk and service staff may have a bigger job than providers at ensuring patient satisfaction.
This is why improving technology that affects workflow, wait time, revenue cycle, and communication changes the game when it comes to patient engagement. We have to continue to keep the patients at the center of all we do and elevate the patient experience through every means possible.
Never stop improving the patient experience.
Creating patient engagement software solutions that provide a more personal, pleasing, and positive patient experience is one of the key initiatives on our roadmap to Experity 2021. The upcoming release of our Electronic Patient Registration integration will give urgent care clinics digital tools that make urgent care experiences more convenient, more accurate, and less invasive to your patient.
See how Experity Patient Engagement can help you deliver a better experience for your patients—and your center.