Technology for New Practices Improves Efficiency and Patient Satisfaction
Healthcare professionals love their independence!
That seems like an appropriate message as we wrap up the month of July, and it’s borne out in fact. Despite dire predictions of independent practices disappearing into big medical groups and hospitals, the trend, according to the data from Kareo’s 2021 State of the Independent Survey, is the opposite. New independent practices are springing up every day, even during the pandemic. We shared an earlier blog article on a chiropractor who opened his new practice in the summer of 2020.
Healthcare professionals enjoy having control of their own destiny and patients “vote with their feet” by continuing to choose independent practices in significant numbers. One of the key elements toward the success of independent practices is the availability of technology that can alleviate the financial and workload burden of starting and maintaining a small business in the complex healthcare field.
Let’s say you’re considering starting a new healthcare practice. Obviously, there are multiple considerations and steps to take, and Kareo has developed a new resource page for starting a new healthcare practice, including a helpful guide for starting an independent practice and a useful checklist of to-do items.
Technology is only one of the areas covered, but it’s a critical series of decisions since it can represent substantial financial investment as well as success or failure in workflow, billing, security, and compliance. Equally important, modern technology can help equip a new practice with the patient-centric capabilities so essential to thriving in today’s healthcare arena.
What then are the must-haves in terms of technology for a brand-new practice and what features of the technology assure the investment will pay off in efficiency, accuracy and happy staff and patients?
Here’s a short guide:
The All-Important EHR
Your EHR choice is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your practice. EHR implementation can help you improve patient outcomes and meet requirements to avoid penalties and access pay for performance incentives. EHRs are also important to help maximize efficiency that can provide increased revenue through more accurate, higher-level billing.
Some of the most critical features and functions include:
- Certified EHR. The EHR should be certified for Stage 1 and well on its way to certification for Stage 2.
- Ease of Use. You don’t have the time, money, or in-house expertise for steep learning curves, so evaluate the balance between useability and the capabilities needed by your practice.
- Clinical Content. Evaluate the specific checklists, documents and tools needed for your area of medicine.
- Patient Summary Screen. The specifics may vary based on specialty, but all providers need a summary of medications, current conditions, and outstanding care items.
There are many other capabilities that EHRs should offer, so check out our complete guide, Selecting the Right EHR for Your Practice, for the full details. With all the EHRs available, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Focus on the essentials and don’t get side-tracked by bells and whistles you don’t need. Also, the days of storing huge servers that become outdated in your office are over. Be sure your software solution works in the cloud.
Practice Management and Billing
Moving patients through a practice easily and efficiently is of primary concern when starting a new practice, but efficiency can’t be achieved at the expense of patient-centricity and satisfaction. Fortunately, good PM software designed for independent practices can achieve both. Look for flexibility, built-in coding rules, management of unpaid bills and patient billing, and the reports needed for your practice. As with EHRs, don’t buy more than you need.
While individual specialties and types of practices will have unique workflows, here are the essentials common to all:
• Charge entry
• Payment posting
• Insurance and patient billing reporting
Download our Medical Office Software Guide to learn more and determine how to choose the right platform for your needs.
To receive the maximum amount of money owed to your practice, you’ll need a little help. Some technology collection solutions include a credit card swipe machine, texting capabilities for payment reminders, a portal for patients to pay online, easy-to-read patient statements, and the ability to store credit cards on file for recurring payments or payments over the phone. These types of conveniences are conveniences patients have come to expect. Making it easier for patients to pay their bills benefits the practice and assures patients have a way to continue to receive the care they need. Download our Patient Collections Blueprint Guide for more tips on setting up a success patient collections process.
In the past, a good EHR and PM solutions would have been sufficient for starting a practice. However today there’s another key ingredient in practice success – patient engagement. When using a patient engagement solution, you can do tasks like send coupons for Rx discounts, send preventive care reminders and broadcast text messages, conduct after visit surveys, and automatically send newsletters and birthday and holiday greetings. To see how Kareo can help you with your patient engagement efforts, visit us here.
Look for some of these capabilities in patent engagement solutions:
- Patient portal where patients can arrange appointments, access orders and lab results, and message the practice.
- Ways to help patients find the practice online, encourage and promote good reviews, automate post-visit feedback, and maintain directory management.
- Automate scheduling and appointment reminders.
- Let patients know when you’re running behind schedule.
- Online patient intake.
To thrive in today’s patient-centered market, you need a holistic approach with the right technology solution to deliver a superior patient experience alongside patient care. The result is better care delivery, increased patient collections, and happier, healthier patients. Check out the Kareo new practice start-up site for all the resources you’ll need – armed with these technology solutions, you’ll be set up for efficiency, patient satisfaction, profitability and success. To learn more about Kareo, visit us at Kareo.com.