Guest post by Aaron Weiss, director of marketing for HP LaserJet Enterprise Solutions.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to improve workflows and efficiency by using technology. Across all of the SMBs in various industries that I’ve helped, healthcare offices often experience the most debilitating pain points, resulting from an overflow of documents like patient and medication information.
From scheduling appointments and providing medication information to keeping track of patient history records, employees of office-based physician practices are expected to meet high demands. In the midst of diagnosing illnesses and managing administrative responsibilities, disorganization, security issues and time management often become pain points for practices.
Digitizing medical practice processes is an important step to reduce medical office pain points —by adopting cloud computing and technologies that digitize paper processes, medical practices can mitigate these pain points and allow employees to provide patients the highest level of care in the most efficient manner.
Below are three major pain points that office-based physician practices experience, along with technology strategies to help relieve them:
Too many documents and a lack of organization
Many medical practices are responsible for handling confidential patient information daily, including health insurance records, clinical notes, allergy lists and medication information. Physicians, nurses and technicians spend a large portion of their days managing these documents—a recent study found that paper and documentation processes can take up as much as a third of a physician’s workday.
If offices aren’t utilizing electronic health records (EHRs), medical and insurance records are stored on-site, incurring expenses around storage and administrative filing. It’s estimated that organizations make 19 copies of each document, invest $20 to file each document and spend $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document.
Digitizing files can help in reducing these large costs for small medical practices, but it’s important to note that medical practices don’t depend, and shouldn’t, on paper, cloud or personal systems alone. Taking a blended approach — embracing and understanding the importance of both paper documents and digitized files — drives productivity and cost efficiency, while reducing environmental waste.
Keep backup paper files of patient records involving the patient’s signature or consent, and digitize medication information and health insurance records to reduce costs and save time. To do this, medical offices should adopt a cloud-based document management system that can digitize and send files easily. These solutions allow administrative employees and physicians to store documents quickly with enterprise-level security.
It’s also important for medical practices to implement tech products and document management systems that are compatible with both the digital and physical worlds — allowing for saving directly to the cloud, but scanning and printing to and from the cloud when needed. This will make processes like providing patients with their records or medication information easier.
Optimizing endless schedules
With limited staff, small medical practice employees often have to handle daily job responsibilities, as well as back-office duties.
From appointment calendars to financial files, medical practice employees handle various documents day-to-day. Practices should use cloud-based tablets to streamline work processes and manage unexpected schedule changes.
Cancellations and patient no-shows are also ongoing issues for administrative employees and physicians in medical practices, and keeping schedules and workflows efficient in the midst of ever-changing schedules can be difficult. In fact, according to a recent study, patient cancellations and no-shows represents 31.1 percent of scheduled appointments.
Though it may be minimal, these cancellations leave physicians and staff with a bit of extra time — so medical professionals need effective solutions that increase collaboration and improve workflows during down time. By adopting cloud-connected tablets, medical professionals can streamline their processes and utilize all hours of the workday, regardless of unexpected schedule changes. By scanning and using automated data capture to upload files to the cloud, office-based physician practices can improve workflow and efficiently manage downtime.
Transmit information securely
Handling protected health information (PHI) on behalf of patients is a responsibility of most medical practice employees. Unfortunately, small businesses are at a higher risk of data breaches — IT managers should ensure the highest level of security by adopting a cloud service provider that meets security needs.
According to this study, 81 percent of healthcare organizations are collecting, storing and transmitting some form of PHI via mobile devices. With such a large percentage of healthcare organizations transmitting PHI via mobile devices, ensuring security is essential. Medical practices should look for cloud solutions and technology options that offer advanced enterprise-grade security to keep patient information secure.
In addition to adopting secure tech, physician practices should utilize tablets and a cloud service provider (CSP) that adhere to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to ensure the highest level of security.
As the medical profession continues to evolve and place more demands on administrative employees and physicians, there are solutions available to address pain points, improve workplace efficiency and provide their employees with solutions that help them manage documents through technology. Utilizing cloud-enabled technology with enterprise-level security can help practices deliver the highest quality patient care by freeing up employee time to focus on the most important aspect of their responsibilities—their patients.
Aaron Weiss is the director of marketing for LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions in the Printing and Personal Systems Group of Hewlett-Packard Company. Aaron’s organization is responsible for driving the product and marketing strategy for a portfolio of document management, workflow, capture, mobility, security and fleet management solutions targeting the SMB and enterprise customer segments.