From Appointment Reminders to Billings: Creating a Complete, Modern Patient Experience
As technology continues to change many aspects of life and business, healthcare providers have new opportunities to boost administrative efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the patient experience. At the forefront of this revolution are mobile devices, which are the backbone of the modern patient experience. From appointment scheduling and reminders to billing and payments, a mobile platform can revolutionize an ambulatory practice’s back-office operations and patient satisfaction.
Moving to the Digital Office
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With the proliferation of device-enabled connectivity, old-fashioned practices and paper are quickly going by the wayside. Patients now expect a digitally-enabled environment that supports an efficient and convenient healthcare experience. While many industries, like retail banking and auto insurance, have rapidly advanced to meet the technological expectations of consumers, most healthcare providers remain behind the times.
Mobile has become one of the most effective communication channels for engaging patients because it is where they spend so much of their time. A survey by Flurry Analytics found the average U.S. consumer spends up to five hours per day on their mobile devices, nearly double the time they were spending on them in 2013.
And business technology consultancy West Monroe Partners noted in a recent survey and report that consumers now expect more than annual checkups and basic coverage. The emergence of smartphones, wearables, and connected devices, real-time communication is becoming a necessity in healthcare. Roughly 90% of consumers said they use a provider’s online portal or mobile apps when they’re available.
“The age of the traditional doctor’s office is coming to an end…More and more consumers can get in touch with their doctors and insurance providers via online portals, mobile apps, and other connected devices,” said the report.
Digital Engagement at All Levels of Care
From electronic health records (EHRs) to tablet-based check-ins, many healthcare providers have implemented some level of digitization. But few have yet to fully optimize it by creating a system of direct communication and engagement through patient’s mobile devices.
There’s a clear link between patient satisfaction and the availability of digital communication channels. Small and mid-size practices can now actively engage customers with a digital strategy and portal throughout the continuum of care.
- Long before an appointment, the patient can gain mobile access to real-time scheduling, educational materials, and any other relevant information.
- Providers can automatically send text appointment reminders, prescription information, and insurance and records requests.
- Physician offices can enable device-based check-in with a provider-owned tablet or through the patient’s own mobile device.
- After the appointment, the patient can access discharge instructions, educational materials, referral physicians, and schedule future appointments.
- A mobile platform can also be used for billing and payments, enabling patients to conveniently and quickly pay from the palm of their hands, from wherever they are.
While creating a modern experience can benefit the patients themselves through better service and better health outcomes, it can also benefit healthcare providers with greater efficiencies and cost savings. Automation can eliminate much of the human-facing work of making calls and sending letters, invoices, and emails. Regular, automated reminders to mobile devices can also reduce now-shows, something which can cost providers up to $200 for each time slot, according to an article in Healthcare Management Technology.
A Modern Experience from Scheduling to Billing