By Hari Prasad, founder and CEO, Yosi Health.
Frontline healthcare workers have been doing an incredible job saving lives in ICU beds across the country. However, the healthcare industry has found itself struggling with another pandemic-related challenge, one that’s affecting the ability to provide the quality and care patients expect in their day-to-day overall healthcare maintenance.
As a result of both revenue loss and the loss of patient confidence, providers are looking to overcome a myriad of concerns raised by the pandemic, as they watch their patients postpone regular check-ups and appointments for necessary screenings and treatments because of fears related to COVID-19.
Here’s a list of the five biggest obstacles healthcare providers and medical facilities face right now —and some strategies for overcoming them.
- In-Person Patient Exposure
Patients have been postponing their office visits because of the pandemic and it is easy to understand why. The traditional office experience involved sitting in waiting rooms packed with people with little social/physical distancing. More importantly, front desk transactions and workflows also present social distancing obstacles. Contagion ridden point of care clipboards with forms, kiosks, and tablets have been handled by thousands of patients. The current model does not inspire confidence that it is safe nor that the experience will be safer.
To gain the patients confidence with coming back into the practice for appointments, healthcare providers need to address the problems with the traditional waiting room process. Virtual waiting room solutions are the key to reducing wait times, eliminating in-office crowding and reducing the risk of contagion. By offering patient-intake and registration remotely and digitally, virtual waiting rooms allow providers to collect and verify required patient information, signed forms and patient payments prior to the patient’s appointment. With that hurdle overcome, patients will have a much faster and safer visit with minimal contact and wait times.
- Streamlining Paperwork
The healthcare industry is recognizing the necessity to improve the patient experience—and one of the major consumer “pain points” they’re addressing is the red tape that comes with patient account administration.
It’s no secret that compliance related paperwork is a significant log jam preventing a great patient experience. In fact, several studies show providers and healthcare staff spend more time managing their EMR/EHR systems than they do providing direct patient care. Automated solutions can handle patient intake, registration, and other paperwork which allows providers a chance to focus their efforts where it matters most: on their patients.
- Bringing back Revenue
Revenue loss brought on by medical appointment and procedure cancellations has impacted every size medical facility, from large hospital systems to smaller private practices.
By adopting an automated patient intake, registration, and engagement solutions, medical practices are experiencing an increase in practice revenue and reducing their administrative costs. Facilities adopting the Yosi Health solution actually reported a 20% increase in collection rates for their practice. Practices like Innovative Express Care are reporting they are re-purposing waiting room space to offer other services.
Digital patient intake and registration that integrate with EMR systems are significantly reducing administration costs and paper waste. Automating the traditionally cumbersome health risk screening assessments and advanced care directives, care centers are significantly optimizing revenue opportunities.
- Welcoming Patients Back
Patients won’t come back on their own. They need to know that improvements to the patient experience have been put in place. The Alliance of Community Health Plans recently reported that only 31% of patients feel comfortable with the prospect of returning to the doctor’s office for visits. The providers who have adopted virtual waiting room solutions are getting their patients back in by touting their safe, contactless intake and registration experience on social media, newsletters, and local ads. Healthcare providers need to “get the word out” that they are back open for business and safety protocols have been put in place.
- Reestablishing Patient Trust and Practice Reputation
As the pandemic slowly recedes, healthcare providers will be faced with the challenge of reestablishing trust with their patients. Part of the strategy is to better manage their reputation online. Virtual waiting rooms have been shown to improve the overall patient care experience. An automated digital platform allows patients to easily share their experience with the practice online. Practitioners can readily collect and post these reviews, ratings, and other feedback to all of the social media rating platforms—including their social media profiles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst, speeding-up the adoption of many necessary improvements to the overall patient experience. Is your practice addressing these challenges an making those improvements?