Since the healthcare field is constantly evolving, it can be challenging to develop solutions that enable you to operate your practice more efficiently and provide a positive customer service experience for patients. Patients are making more decisions about their care than ever before. Providers need to incorporate best practices that encourage patients to partner with them in taking responsibility for their health. With an increasing emphasis on person-centered care, high-quality software should facilitate patient engagement. Patients who take an active role in their care have higher rates of recovery.
Accustomed to flexibility and accessibility in the retail world, patients, who are beginning to see themselves as healthcare consumers, want versatility and ease-of-use when making payments and viewing health information. Patient-centered software features components that motivate patients to take control.
- Consumers want convenience. To meet patient needs, software solutions must be user-friendly. Patients want to locate the information they need quickly, and they expect the information to be easy to comprehend.
- Patients can easily register and fill out forms within a secure platform. Basic information is stored when they set up an account, and the system "remembers" them the next time they login.
- Patients appreciate the convenience and flexibility of bill-paying capabilities anytime, anywhere, through multiple channels. Notifications can be included to remind them when bills are due. Person-centered software also provides accurate cost estimates and clear explanations of account balances.
- Patients fare better when they receive alerts and reminders about prescription refills and upcoming appointments. Once notified, they can schedule appointments or request refills through the portal.
- Patients expect to access their account from multiple devices (smartphone, desktop, tablet).
- Comprehensive software solutions allow patients to communicate with providers at their convenience through emails or text messages.
- In accordance with meaningful use guidelines, software should allow patients to have real-time access to their health records. They're more likely to be involved in their care if they can easily retrieve this information.
- Revenue is optimized and patients are empowered when they're educated about their health. Patient-centered technology solutions can supplement the education that begins in the doctor's office.
Benefits to Providers
The healthcare industry lags behind other industries in providing up-to-date consumer-driven solutions. Many providers are reluctant to invest the time and resources to adopt new innovations. However, superior software solutions also improve outcomes for medical practices. Cloud-based solutions provide a central location for data storage, offering enhanced security. Furthermore, such a solution can be easily modified or upgraded to meet changing demographics and patient needs.
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Providers report that when patients have digital access, call volume decreases, making it easier for staff to direct their attention to in-person patients. Providers can respond to patients' questions and concerns at their convenience, and staff can devote less time to scheduling appointments.
Moreover, practices save time and conserve resources by delegating tasks digitally, eliminating the tedium of labor-intensive duties such as mailing statements, manually completing forms, and managing patient charts.
Advanced technology allows increasing numbers of data systems to be integrated. Providers using more traditional means of managing patient information will have to make the transition at some point, and the gap will only continue to widen the longer they wait. Although upgrading data systems requires an initial expenditure of time and resources, the benefits of updating far outweigh the costs. One Pennsylvania health network, upon incorporating patient-centered software solutions, collected more than one million dollars from portal payments alone within the first five months. Clearly, providers who implement software systems that meet patient needs will quickly see a significant return on their investment.