Essential Technology for Independent Medical Practices
The current healthcare environment in the United States causes independent medical practices to face a number of challenges. Fortunately, several new technologies are available to help navigate the complexities of healthcare and run a profitable practice. Choosing to implement these new technologies can mean the difference between merely surviving and actually thriving.
At every medical office, a large amount of data is generated on a daily basis. To remain efficient, it is critical to handle this data accurately and in a timely manner. For instance, a small error in the billing process can result in a denied claim. This means valuable time will be wasted resubmitting the claim, costing the practice money. Technological tools help eliminate or minimize the chances of an error while saving staff time and improving the accuracy of the process.
There are several exciting innovations in healthcare technology that are designed to improve the patient’s experience at independent medical offices. They streamline the workflow which in turn boosts patient confidence and results in overall improved patient satisfaction.
Another area of technological advances is focused on improving patient collections. With the increasing popularity of high-deductible insurance plans, patients are now responsible for a greater proportion of their medical bills. In this scenario, technologies that make it easier for patients to clear their medical bills provide a win-win situation where both the patients and the medical practice benefit. In fact, some EHRs have the ability to plug the gaps and integrate with older systems. This helps to bring smaller medical practices at par with large healthcare organizations in terms of healthcare technology.
Some of the new solutions and essential technology for independent medical practices are listed below:
Real-Time Eligibility Verification
The ability to check a patient’s insurance eligibility and coverage in real-time is a technological feature included in some EHRs. This new solution provides a quick and easy way for front office staff to obtain all relevant information without a waste of precious time.
Technology can eliminate the need to manually estimate the payment due from a patient. In an era when patients are assuming greater financial responsibility for their medical care with higher deductibles, co-pays, and self-pay, it is important to know upfront how much the patient will be liable for and how much the payer will reimburse.
Mobile apps, web-based portals, e-statements, and credit card information on file are all payment tools that have a direct impact on the success of your medical practice. Not all patients accept electronic payment methods, but even some patients using these modes of payment can increase collections by a perceptible amount.
The biggest fear at medical practices is given an online appointment booking option, patients will select the wrong kind of appointment. Yet, this hurdle can be overcome with a trial run involving one or two physicians. This will reveal possible problems and the online appointment scheduling service can then be tweaked before it is implemented office-wide. Once in place, online appointment booking means a patient needing a same-day appointment can quickly fit the slot vacated by a patient who needs to cancel at the last minute.
As an independent medical practice owner knows, last-minute cancellations have a direct impact on revenue. Reminder messages have been proven to bring down the number of no-shows considerably. Millennials especially are known to check their text messages and e-mails several times a day. With the busy lifestyle that everyone leads these days, patients appreciate the gentle reminder to work their doctor’s visit into their schedule.
The amazing technological advances in healthcare in recent years have made running an independent medical practice much easier. In addition to tools that directly affect patient interaction, several innovations, such as those involving billing and coding, work behind the scenes to make the administration of a medical practice smoother.