To Deliver Patient-Centered Care Physician Group Practices Must Embrace Health IT Tools [Future Healthcare Today]
Electronic registration, ease of access, and patient self-scheduling have become major focuses of patient-centered engagement. Relatient CTO, Kevin Montgomery, discusses this with Future Healthcare Today in a recent interview in which Kevin says that health IT tools are a must for physician practices that want to keep up with the changing demands of the healthcare marketplace.
“It’s pretty exciting that we may start seeing a shift in which healthcare catches up to other industries,” Kevin said. “If you are a healthcare provider and you’re not prepared for electronic registration, ease of patient access, and patient self-scheduling, you need to start looking at it now or risk being left behind.”
Weighing in on the conversation was Relatient’s Clinical Quality Specialist and RN, Ann Baker. Baker says physician practices are notoriously lagging behind in their adoption of technology, though health IT tools can make a significant difference in both patient satisfaction and a practice’s financial health. Giving an example Baker shared,
“According to MGMA, 68% of patients with medical bills of $500 or less didn’t fully pay their patient financial responsibility. Technology makes it easier and less time-intensive for practices to track down these smaller balances that collectively really add up. ”
Kevin and Ann are right.
Patient-centered engagement is a big issue as patients re-evaluate why, when, and how they access health care. They have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and I don’t just mean checking their symptoms online or self-diagnosing their conditions. By the time a patient shows up in your clinic, it’s likely they have done all of the above in addition to having read reviews online and comparing all the similar providers in their area. Understanding what is important to patients and how they make decisions about who they trust with their health is now more important than ever.
We know convenience and accessibility are high on patients’ lists of criteria, here’s what the data says about patient expectations (hint: there’s a theme):
- They want to schedule appointments online or through their mobile devices
- They want to be reminded of their appointments via text message
- They want to pay their bills using their mobile devices, and they expect it to be secure
- They are more likely answer surveys that are short, require almost no time, and are timed appropriately for their experience in your office
- They are more responsive to prompts about their preventative health and disease management when it is delivered via text message and when it’s easy to take the appropriate action.
It’s clear that patients are looking for convenience and accessibility through the use of online tools and their mobile devices. If you’re looking to be competitive and stay relevant in the changing healthcare landscape, embracing health IT tools is non-negotiable.