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Thoughts on practice success and patient relationship management: Q&A with Arman Samani, PatientPop chief product officer

A healthcare technology veteran shares his perspectives on the keys to healthcare practice success and what’s in store for PatientPop practices.

How can independent healthcare practices use technology to improve their business? Ideally, a single platform or set of tools can help attract and retain patients, deliver convenience to both patients and practice staff, improve office productivity, and help providers affect outcomes. 

Arman Samani, the new Chief Product Officer at PatientPop, has taken the reins of the company’s single platform, managing current offerings and visualizing a future he sees as increasingly useful — and even necessary — for practice success.

Samani has spent more than 20 years working in healthcare technology. Most recently, he served as the Chief Product & Technology Officer for AdvancedMD, where he oversaw the development of their cloud-based platform of electronic health records, practice management, and patient engagement. He joined PatientPop in October and is now driving product research, strategy, and delivery.

In this Q&A, Samani explains what brought him to PatientPop, his views and plans for the PatientPop platform, and some insight on the industry and what’s to come.

Q: What inspired you to join the PatientPop team? 

Arman Samani: I’ve always been passionate about healthcare technology — in particular, how technology can help healthcare become better and more efficient. I’ve spent 20 years of my career focused on this, and I’ve seen firsthand how the right technology can make life easier for both physicians and patients, not to mention the impact it can have on quality and outcomes.

PatientPop has the only platform I have seen that really connects physicians with patients in the right way and vice versa. It’s clear that making these connections can help improve healthcare. I like how PatientPop offers a set of capabilities that connects in a cohesive workflow, rather than a set of disparate tools. From patient acquisition to automating front-office functions to patient retention, practices are supported at every step.

I was also drawn to the organization’s focus on helping independent physicians thrive. As healthcare continues to consolidate, I love the idea of advocating for and supporting independent practices so they can focus on what they got into medicine for: caring for their patients.

Q: What do you think practices need today to be successful? 

Samani: First and foremost, practices need to attract the right kind of patients — those that you’re good at treating, whose health you can really impact. It’s important for practices to recognize that patient access is increasingly more digital, so efforts to connect with the right kind of patient has to happen via online channels. To start, this requires a great website and a sound search engine optimization strategy (SEO).

From there, physicians need tools to streamline their operations, which could mean automating the front office and/or modernizing the patient experience. We know that taking care of patients is more than just delivering exceptional patient care. It’s about making things easier.

Whether it’s offering electronic scheduling, digital patient registration, or check-in so they can avoid a busy waiting room, or allowing them to pay online seamlessly — these little things can help a practice shine and give a very comfortable and efficient feel to the patient.

Finally, to be successful in the long run, practices need a patient retention strategy. This means moving beyond an episodic care model to one that’s focused on staying connected in between appointments. This is an area where technology can really help.

For patients with chronic conditions, it could mean reaching out on a regular basis with education and information, and providing reminders to schedule check-ups or routine screenings — all to keep patients healthy and strengthen the patient-provider relationship. In a value-based world where providers are incentivized to keep patients healthy, this is a win-win strategy.

Q: How has the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology in the world of healthcare?

Samani: Prior to the pandemic, many of the wheels were in motion for a digital transformation in healthcare. In many cases, adoption was slow. A shift that could have occurred over a number of years instead occurred almost instantly this spring when COVID-19 threatened many independent practices’ very existence.

Clearly, the pandemic has been a catalyst for rapid change, and it’s having a major and lasting effect on both patients and providers, who are seeing the benefits. From seamless digital registration to telehealth and much more, patients are appreciating the convenience and simplicity of this new modern experience. For many, there will be no going back.

Q: What is your overall vision for the PatientPop platform? Where would you like to take it for healthcare providers? 

Samani: PatientPop was founded on the premise of helping private practices thrive. In the early days, that meant putting a huge emphasis on moving practices into the digital world through website development and search engine optimization (SEO), so they could be found and get new patients booked.

Now and in the future, we know that success for independent practices is about much more than patient acquisition. It’s also about strategic growth. I’d say PatientPop is expanding its strategy to becoming a more complete practice growth platform.

How do we achieve this? I believe sustainable practice growth is only possible with continuous patient relationship management. So, focusing on tools and strategies that enhance the practice-patient relationship is a huge area of focus for us moving forward.

Q: What are the top things a practice owner should look for when looking for technology or innovations to help them better manage their practice?

Samani: Two words: integration and workflow. In healthcare, for solutions to be successful, they not only need a cohesive workflow within their platform, but they also should connect with other platforms. Point solutions that do their thing but don’t connect are not going to work well.

Our focus is to continue optimizing our connectivity and integration, to make sure we integrate to practice’s systems in a seamless way, to enhance the workflow of the practice. Practices need to do less manually and more in an automated way.

I’ll name one more characteristic of an innovative technology vendor — look to those committed to integrating the voice of their customer into their innovations. This is a sure sign they’re paying attention and responding to the people using their products.

Q: Is there any big change in the healthcare industry you’d really like to see happen?

Samani: Like most healthcare executives, I’m eager to find ways to help control healthcare costs. We spend more money on healthcare in this country than most developed nations.

Technology is a natural solution to help improve efficiencies in any industry. The idea of using technology to connect with patients and help decrease healthcare spending is gaining momentum. Accountable care organizations are learning to do it and others are following suit.

Better patient relationship management and chronic care management are all part of the shift to value-based care — and the future of lowering our healthcare spend. While it’s a slow-moving ship, those practices who learn how to use technology to improve efficiencies and lower healthcare costs should be more successful in a value-based world.

While I don’t think we’ll see the full shift to value-based care in the next five years, we’re headed in the right direction. I look forward to seeing how PatientPop can help practices be successful along the way. If any have questions or would like to talk, I invite you to reach out to me at [email protected].

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