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6 emerging healthcare technologies for independent practices

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The chances are good that your healthcare practice is using an EHR or EMR system to better manage patient data and improve the quality of care. You might even offer a patient portal, if appropriate. On the whole, however, most healthcare practices are under-equipped when it comes to utilizing available technology designed to help them run more smoothly and grow.

An exciting new lineup of advances in healthcare technology has emerged in recent years. Here’s a look at six cutting-edge technologies that will help your practice thrive.

6 emerging healthcare technologies for independent practices

1. Practice growth solutions

If you’re ready to grow your practice, you must invest in technology that directly supports your objectives. Practice growth software like PatientPop is instrumental in attracting patients. This type of healthcare technology solution takes a multi-faceted approach to promote your practice, including the following features.

High-performance search engine optimization (SEO)

Created exclusively for your practice by industry-leading experts, your unique search engine optimization (SEO) plan targets local patients and boosts your search engine ranking.

Enhanced web presence

With a practice growth solution, you can ensure your practice and provider profiles are visible, accurate, and consistent across directories. Online scheduling can be integrated into your profiles, allowing patients to book appointments 24/7.

Automated appointment confirmations and reminders

Confirming appointments is a necessary task, but when completed manually, it can be highly time-consuming. With a practice growth solution, you can send strategically timed emails and text messages, making the process quick, easy, and effective.

Automated patient satisfaction surveys

A practice growth solution allows you to drive online reviews and get valuable patient feedback by sending carefully timed, automated patient satisfaction surveys. The regular stream of feedback will help you provide better care and open the lines of communication between your practice staff and patients.

2. Medical scheduling solutions

When patients can schedule appointments online, they enjoy the ability to book at their own convenience. This feature is clearly important to them, as results of a recent study revealed …

81 percent of patients would schedule a doctor’s appointment online if they could, and 40 percent would consider switching providers for this feature.

Medical scheduling software can be integrated into your practice site, giving patients the self-service functionality they desire. There’s no shortage of options to choose from, so explore the different benefits offered by each service to find the best fit for your practice.

Patients can also schedule appointments on third-party websites — such as Yelp, Google, and more — with call-to-action (CTA) functionality. For example, the PatientPop Universal Scheduling service allows patients to request or schedule appointments on more than 50 search and business directory websites.

3. Electronic forms solutions

If you haven’t already gone paperless, it’s time to make the switch. Electronic forms are the future of healthcare, because they offer benefits such as those listed here.

Increase efficiency

Requiring patients to fill out paper forms creates extra work for your office staff, since they have to manually input information into the computer. Cut the length of this process in half by using electronic forms that automatically transmit data from completed forms into your system.

Reduce costs

The more paper your practice uses, the more expenses you incur. Paper, toner, and other printing supplies aren’t cheap, especially when you’re using a lot. Add in the time you have to pay employees to scan documents and the amount of money it takes to store them, and you’ll quickly see the dent paper forms make on your budget.

Become more eco-friendly

In 2017, 22.4 million tons of paper was cast aside in landfills.1 Every company can make a difference, so join the cause by going paperless with your practice.

Save space

You need all the square footage you can get at your office. Taking forms digital will allow to you get rid of excess file cabinets and the rooms needed to store them, giving you more space to serve patients.

Avoid lost paperwork

A healthcare practice is a busy place, so it’s probably not uncommon for patient forms to get lost in the mix. Not only is this a privacy violation, having to ask patients to complete paperwork a second time is an inconvenience certainly not appreciated.

4. Online chat solutions

Retailers aren’t the only businesses that can benefit from chat tools. In today’s digital world, many patients don’t want to pick up the phone and call your practice with questions. Instead, they would prefer to head online for a quick chat.

Website chat solutions typically come in the form of a widget that can be added to your practice website. This method of communication can be beneficial to everyone, as practice staff is usually able to handle multiple conversations at once, and patients get to have their questions answered quickly.

The value of speed cannot be underestimated, as 90 percent of consumers rated an immediate response as “important” or “very important” when they have a customer service question.2

Utilizing social media chat tools like Facebook Messenger can also be advantageous to your practice. Messenger is used to send more than 10 billion correspondences between people and businesses on a monthly basis.3 Therefore, your patients are likely already using this service to communicate with other service providers.

5. Patient engagement solutions

The global patient engagement solutions market is expected to reach $18.7 billion in 2022.4

This is largely due to the surge of innovative healthcare gadgets like Fitbit — which had more than 25 million active users in 20175 — that have inspired patients to take a more active role in their health. 

Of course, gadgets aren’t the only way to encourage patients to take a more proactive approach to their healthcare. An increasing number of practices are offering telehealth services, making it easier for patients to receive care remotely.

At present, 65 percent of U.S. hospitals are using or implementing telehealth services. Additionally, nearly every state Medicaid program offers some type of coverage for telehealth services.6

The patient portal is another form of engagement that many practices have adopted. Though the feature isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it continues to evolve with new ways to serve patients. Common features include the ability to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, pay bills, and review lab results.

6. Patient retention and reactivation solutions

Picking up the phone and calling patients to return to your practice is ineffective. The most successful patient retention solutions aim to keep people coming back, without placing a burden on practice staff.

Emailing patients can help you stay in touch and encourage them to return to your office. Creating targeted lists is the most effective way to resonate with people, as the content in a general blanket message will likely not apply to the vast majority. After segmenting patients into groups, send emails offering special promotions they might be interested in or encouraging them to schedule an appointment.

Another way to increase your patient retention rates, automated patient recall reminders let people know when it’s time to return to your office. For example, messages can be sent both before patients are due for a preventative care appointment and when they’re overdue to for a visit.

Embrace healthcare technology — or fall behind

A host of cutting-edge technologies will soon change the way healthcare practices operate. Innovations like practice growth software, medical scheduling software, electronic forms, online chat features, patient engagement tools, and innovative patient retention strategies will make it easier for practices to connect with both new and existing patients.

If you want your practice to succeed, implementing at least some of these emerging technology solutions is imperative. Your competitors are taking these steps to integrate healthcare technology within their practice, so failing to follow suit will eventually make your practice obsolete. Enhancing your technology will likely require an initial investment, but it’s one that will quickly pay itself back. A world of technology is within your reach, so take this opportunity to better serve your patient base.

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6 emerging healthcare technologies for independent practices

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