By Brian Cafferty, vice president of RPA development, Tebra.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that uses “bots” to replace repetitive, rule-based tasks and processes. In everyday life, people use RPA technology anytime they rely on form auto-fills, credit card payments, call center menus, or banking automation.
While the hyper-automation trend has taken root in most industries, bots are just starting to catch on in medical practices. The average practice performs many time-consuming and repetitive administrative tasks that require large amounts of data to be pulled, categorized, summarized, and reported. However, these tasks don’t require specialized knowledge. RPA can provide task automation across the organization, from front-office tasks to operational processes to patient interaction and bill payment. In addition, minimizing manual processes can reduce error rates that cost time and money.
Our customers and early adopters of RPA report that within the first three to six months of implementation, they saw improvements of 50% in operational efficiencies, 200% in claims processing speed, 30% in revenue per clinical encounter, 95% clean claims and only 2-3% claim denial rates.
Automating essential workflow
Onboarding new patients is a process you can automate while improving the patient experience. For example, a bot can provide an integrated data connection between your electronic health record (EHR) and billing platform. As patients complete the intake and insurance forms, this information is automatically entered into your billing platform.
As more patients demand convenient digital touchpoints, bots can maximize back-office efficiency with appointment scheduling. Bots can process patient appointment requests by presenting available time slots and adding selected appointments to the practice’s database. In addition, the RPA tools can assist with patient check-in, validating health plan coverage, and arranging pre-authorizations for planned procedures and treatments. For smaller practices or those with lean office staff, these automations can significantly reduce time spent on non-revenue-generating tasks.
For practices that need to migrate patient EHR data when transitioning from one practice management software to another, bots can initiate keystrokes to create a clinical note for each patient encounter to ensure the patient’s complete medical history is captured accurately.
By reducing the administrative tasks that do not require specialized knowledge or a human touchpoint, your practice staff can focus on delivering better care to improve patient outcomes and grow your practice.
By Travis Schneider, chief corporate development officer, Tebra.
Two-thirds of economists believe an economic downturn is in the pipeline for the U.S. economy. While there has been a myth that the healthcare industry is recession-proof, historically, that has not been the case. Expert reports suggest the health sector tends to be affected later during a recession and typically takes longer to bounce back.
Independently owned practices tend to see the effects more quickly than other healthcare institutions. The rising cost of medical care often delays many Americans, with nearly seven out of 10 putting off an appointment or procedure due to the cost. Independent practices must take a proactive approach to safeguard their business and continue delivering care to patients.
Invest in Practice Growth
Many businesses tend to cut expenses at the first sign of a recession, and marketing expenditures are often the first on the chopping block. However, previous recessions have proved that businesses that continued to market during times of a downturn were not only able to stay in business but also bounce back faster. As the lead generating funnel for a practice, it can be detrimental to reduce marketing efforts. Investing in practice growth technology and clinical management software are worthwhile marketing investments that will help retain a practice’s patient base, expand its market share, and attract new patients.
By Travis Schneider, chief corporate development chair, Tebra.
In a digital-first world, it is more important than ever for physicians to implement strategies that meet patients where they are. To grow and retain a patient base, physicians must implement tools and technologies that set them apart from other practices and physicians online. With the right practice growth software and business strategies, independent practices can quickly execute the best methods to grow and retain their patient base.
Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
When selecting a healthcare provider in today’s digital age, 74.5% of patients turn to the internet. To remain competitive, your practice needs a strong online presence. First, examine and optimize your website by ensuring it is user-friendly and that information like phone numbers, provider information, and addresses are accurate.
Search engines, like Google, are where patients start searching for healthcare information. Ensuring your website features keywords related to the practice and healthcare field can help boost the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. The higher a practice website ranks, the more visibility the website will have with potential patients using Google to find their next physician.
Another way to optimize a website is by ensuring that the pages of the website are also SEO friendly. This means content on a website should be unique, include links to drive traffic, and have relevant keywords throughout the page content.
Maintain a Great Online Presence
Start by claiming and updating your Google business profile through Google My Business (GMB) to build an excellent online presence. Doing so will ensure prospective patients see the most accurate information about your practices and services. In addition, by displaying various business information in multiple formats, Google makes it easier for patients to find information about your practice without the need to navigate directly to your website.
Like your Google business profile, updating your profile on popular sites like WebMD, Yelp, and Facebook is crucial. All information must be accurate and engaging. For example, include your practice address, hours of operation, key services, and photos or videos showcasing your office and providers. In addition, patients may research potential new doctors; without updated profiles, you risk losing patients.
Take Advantage of Patient Feedback
According to PatientPop’s survey, 74% of patients report that reviews affect their decision-making when selecting a new provider. Having that positive reputation online can make a difference in retaining and growing a patient base as an independent practice.
Physicians should focus specifically on Google reviews, as 69.3% of patients report that they are more likely to rely on Google for authentic patient experiences. One way to encourage online reviews is by implementing patient satisfaction surveys. Additionally, PatientPop, a leader in practice growth technology, data reports state that patients being asked for feedback by their providers immediately after appointments are more than twice as likely to take the initiative of submitting online reviews.
Building an online presence and optimizing the patient experience will help physicians and independent practices retain and grow their patient bases over time. In addition, patients want to ensure they will be taken care of by the physician they choose to seek care from.
Examine the Complete Patient Experience
While it might sound like an obvious patient retention strategy, keeping your patients happy is essential, especially in a busy healthcare practice with many moving parts. Many factors can impact the patient experience at any point in the patient journey, so independent practices must understand the entire patient experience from when they find your practice to post-appointment follow-up.
The patients’ top priorities include a provider who listens, welcoming staff, and a short wait time. Patients will contemplate switching providers for greater convenience, so adding tools to simplify the patient experience is a valuable investment in patient retention.
From online scheduling and digital patient registration and intake to automated appointment reminders and telehealth options, providing simple conveniences can add to a better patient experience — and, ultimately, better patient reviews.
Communicate with Patients Directly
When physicians strengthen the provider-patient connection, it goes a long way in supporting a practice’s growth strategy. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. One easy way to do this is to communicate with patients how they prefer.
Current survey results indicate that 2 out of 3 patients prefer to receive appointment reminders via text message. However, when the questions they have might be more involved—say, questions about you or your staff—nearly one-third prefer a phone call. These statistics show patients prefer human contact and communication when things get complex.
Practices can also take retention communications one step further by implementing email marketing campaigns. These campaigns can be custom-designed to increase patient engagement, provide specific information about health conditions, and share practice updates. By segmenting your patient base through email marketing campaigns, you can deliver targeted, relevant information that matters to patients while also establishing a deeper connection with patients.
Patients have an abundance of healthcare providers to choose from, and with big players like CVS, Walmart, and Amazon entering the landscape, the competition is fierce. As a result, independent practices must prioritize their online presence and patient experience. The ultimate key to success for independent practices is cultivating patient relationships over time.
By Andrea Kowalski, senior vice president of product, Tebra.
As private practices everywhere struggle to maintain their independence, they face changing reimbursements, demanding regulatory requirements, and ever-increasing costs. Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system can help them to address these challenges. An EHR can improve profitability, reduce operational costs, and increase patient and physician satisfaction — all while having an overall positive impact on patient care.
An EHR has the ability to shape the future of a small practice. From efficiency to a satisfying return on investment to saving time and money, an EHR has demonstrable advantages. Implementing and having a system in place requires commitment and investment. However, such a step will help practices maintain their independence and continue to adapt and thrive in the future.
Centralized Data and Analytics
Thanks to its visual representation, an EHR dashboard offers relevant data with immediate analytics that relate to financial performance, patient care, and open tasks. Each member of the practice can take in a full-picture view that constantly refreshes with new or updated data. With a certified EHR solution, providers and clinical staff have better control of how they deliver care. The practice’s needs, whether charting, documentation, patient history, or eLabs, are delivered all together for smoother operations.
An EHR not only provides insights into critical information but also allows providers to easily and quickly generate reports and examine the data behind the analytics. For example, practice managers can access a real-time view of patients scheduled for the day and their eligibility data, copay information, and more.