Boosting Practice Efficiency and Patient Engagement Through Digital Technology

There are numerous choices for today’s consumers. Whether you’re looking to buy a car, house or even just a bottle of soda, there are multiple brands, sizes and other categories from which to choose. 

This is also true in the healthcare industry. From expansive hospital systems and large physician practices to urgent care centers and retail health clinics, there are an abundance of options for patient care. 

For those selecting a provider, there are a number of ways to procure information on prospective physicians, including online reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations and insurance provider directories. However, research has shown that a high percentage of patients seek providers with technology that offers digital scheduling, online payment options, portal and engagement capabilities and results reporting tools. 

Not only do some patients prefer the digital experience, approximately 90 percent report that they don’t feel obligated to stay with healthcare providers who don’t deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience. Perhaps that’s because survey results found that more than half of healthcare consumers would choose a doctor that let them fill out paperwork online before a visit, and 68 percent said they feel relief when their provider makes administration tasks, like appointment scheduling, digital.

Obstacles to Patient and Provider Satisfaction

As Deloitte’s Survey of United States Healthcare Consumers reported, many people expect quick answers to their healthcare questions because they’ve grown accustomed to getting information when, where and how they want it. Many patients don’t want to have to take the time to manually fill out necessary forms and lengthen the amount of time they have to wait to see their doctor. Even encountering a busy signal or extended hold times can be frustrating for those simply trying to schedule an appointment. 

For front office staff, not having access to automated solutions on the front-end can result in increased patient wait times and medical errors and decreased satisfaction, all of which negatively affect a practice’s revenue cycle. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that patient charts cannot be found on 30 percent of doctor’s office visits, and administrative errors account for up to half of all medical errors in primary care. 

Benefits Across the Board

Digital technology, especially solutions utilized during the patient intake process, enables physician practices to streamline registration and more quickly and easily retrieve completed patient forms, insurance verification and any additional components of their check-in process. Solutions such as digital check-in, online appointment scheduling, patient portals and electronic forms and signing provide a higher level of accuracy, enhanced patient engagement, increased patient privacy and improved patient flow. 

A report from KLAS found that 60 percent of provider organizations that use patient intake systems said the tool helped them become more efficient, focus more on the patient experience and eliminate some overhead costs associated with traditional paper patient intake strategies. Many doctors prefer the use of technology for administrative purposes, maybe because experts have found that when patients schedule their own appointments, they're more likely to show up. In fact, according to one survey, respondents would prefer to schedule doctor’s appointments online more than any other type of appointment. 

Patients who utilize these digital solutions can use their tablet or smartphone to complete pre-visit administrative tasks even before they arrive for their appointment. When it comes to digital check-in, the MGMA Research & Analysis Report: Optimization of Healthcare Technology to Improve Patient Engagement found that “implementing check-in technologies that make sense for a practice's unique patient demographics…can reduce the administrative burdens and delays of processing paperwork and simultaneously improve patient experience.”

Additional advantages of digital technology for patient intake include:

  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Increased access to healthcare
  • Improved practice efficiency
  • Reduced claim denials
  • Improved collection rates
  • Real-time data authentication
  • Better risk management
  • Increased PHI security
  • Enhanced communication
  • Improved medication safety
  • Expanded focus on clinical initiatives
  • Reduced churn, duplication and storage requirements

Reliable Resources for Your Practice

Employing digital solutions allows physician practices to improve their front-end processes and use resources for other essential tasks, but it also empowers healthcare consumers to more easily manage their health. Patients who are fully engaged in their care are more likely to maintain treatment plans, track their health and ask their providers questions.  

Learn how Epion’s cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform and digital patient engagement solutions can help your practice deliver a more consistent, tailored and delightful patient experience across all touchpoints.