In today’s ever-changing world of healthcare, it’s important for hospitals and private practices to make patient satisfaction a top priority. As patients now have more choices than ever before when it comes to getting proper care for themselves and their families, emerging technology has made its way into numerous areas, such as front office scheduling, patient charts, and various means of communicating with patients about their condition and allowing them to make more informed decisions. To gain a greater understanding of how emerging technology can improve patient satisfaction, here are some key points to remember.
Front Office and Scheduling Software
In today’s modern hospital or local physician’s office, using the latest front office and scheduling software has virtually revolutionized contact with patients. Since getting patients in to see their physician as soon as possible has become key to patient satisfaction, utilizing the latest front office and scheduling software can now make the process easier than ever. Whether it’s checking-in patients, collecting co-pays, or verifying insurance information, today’s software not only helps patients get in and out faster than ever but also allows the medical office staff to be much more efficient in their day-to-day operations.
According to a survey conducted by First American Healthcare Finance, 66 percent of U.S. hospitals report increasing their technology budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Of those hospitals surveyed, 54 percent said they plan to use part of their tech budgets to purchase self-service kiosks. Becoming much more common in hospitals, these kiosks serve a variety of functions aimed at increasing patient satisfaction. Filling out pre-appointment questionnaires, signing consent forms, updating family history, providing insurance data, and more can now be accomplished through these kiosks, which are located in waiting rooms and other nearby areas. By using these kiosks, patients not only get faster service, but hospitals and private practice physicians can also use this medical technology to improve front-office workflow, resulting in greater efficiency.
Along with self-service kiosks, many hospitals and private practice physicians have started to use patient portals to not only educate patients but also establish interactive relationships with them. To accomplish this, more and more physicians are now using what’s known as open note access, which lets patients read their own doctor’s notes. By doing so, patients and doctors can work together online while establishing a closer working relationship, ultimately resulting in patients receiving better treatment in a quicker period of time. And along with this, these patient portals also allow patients to update prescription information and ask questions of their doctors about medications, which helps physicians gain a greater understanding of how the medication is helping or hurting the patient. A trend that is expected to continue in the years ahead, patient portals are proving to be an inexpensive yet efficient way to interact with patients on an almost daily basis.
Revenue Cycle Management Software
Needless to say, it’s important that physicians be paid for the services they provide. Likewise, it’s also important that patients are able to know upfront how much the services they need will cost. Designed to help patients as well as increase collections on self-pay accounts, this software provides patient bill estimations before services are rendered, allowing patients and staff to work out payment arrangements that will lead to bills being paid rather than sent off to collections. As a result, the cash flow for the practice will substantially improve, while at the same time increasing communication with patients, enabling physicians to work closely with patients and also make the payment process less daunting.
In years past when patients were in an examination room awaiting their doctor’s arrival, all they could do was sit there and read a magazine that was very much out-of-date. However, with magazines becoming a thing of the past, more doctors are now doing away with magazines and instead opting for what’s known as smart rooms. Allowing patients to customize their surroundings while awaiting treatment, these rooms are considered one of the growing trends in medical technology. Whether it’s being able to watch videos on a high-definition television, occupy their mind with the latest video game, or surf the internet during a high-stress treatment procedure, these rooms allow patients to have far less anxiety while improving their experience in the office.
Whether a private practice physician implements one or all of these aspects of improved patient care, it’s clear these types of emerging technology are greatly improving patient satisfaction. As these and other types of medical technology continue to be created and improved upon in the years ahead, there is little doubt healthcare will undergo even more changes. By striving to improve the doctor-patient relationship, both patients and physicians will come to realize the importance of working together toward a common goal of health and well-being.