The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on individuals, families, and small businesses, but perhaps no industry has been more impacted than the medical field. The demands placed on hospitals and healthcare providers increased dramatically during the pandemic, and hospitals had to find a way to meet their demands while also keeping their patients and their providers safe. Telehealth appointments expanded significantly during the pandemic, and many of these changes are here to stay. With patients asking for more digital healthcare than ever before, what do medical practices and hospitals need to do to meet their demands? Take a look at a few key points below.
How to Meet These New Expectations
1. Invest in New Technology
The first thing that healthcare providers need to do is invest in new technology. Right now, a lot of medical practices are financially constrained, so they may feel hesitant to spring for new technology. The good news is that expanding options with new technology does not necessarily need to be expensive. For example, doctors and administrators might want to sit down with an IT consultant who can help them improve their telehealth capabilities, design a mobile app, and invest in call management systems that can reduce wait times when patients call in. Furthermore, medical practices might want to offer online appointment booking options. This can reduce the stress on the phone lines and make it easier for patients to communicate with the office.
2. Advertise New Digital Options Available To Patients
Even if medical practices have invested in new technology, patients might not know about it. A lot of people are busy living their own lives, and they will continue to go to the same routine unless the practice advertises the new options they have available.
For example, medical practices might want to take advantage of social media or email marketing to let their patients and their families know about the new options they have available. This could include telehealth appointments, mobile applications that make it easier to book appointments, and online appointment management tools. If patients know that they have new digital options available to them, they could make their lives (and the lives of the office and hospital staff) easier.
3. Change the Way Patients Check In and Check Out
A lot of patients are also looking for ways to streamline the check-in and checkout process. A lot of patients are very frustrated with how much paperwork they have to fill out when they arrive in the office. It might be helpful to make this process digital. Give patients the ability to fill out all of their paperwork online before they arrive. This includes their insurance information. That way, the office staff can anticipate issues with patient insurance and prepare to deal with them before the patient arrives in the office. Furthermore, patients should have the option to check in digitally to shorten the line at the front desk.
It is also important to streamline the checkout process. For example, follow-up instructions, patient payments, and booking the next appointment should all be performed digitally. This can reduce the traffic jam at the front desk, which will also improve patient privacy. Take steps to improve the check-in and check-out process, and streamline the communication process.
4. Train the Staff on All New Processes
Another way to improve the ability of the practice to meet the needs of patients is to ensure all staff members are properly trained. When a lot of new digital processes are implemented in the office, the staff will have to go through a rigorous training process. Remember that a lot of staff members bring their own devices, so it is important to make sure all devices are not only HIPAA-compliant but also reliable. When staff members are trained on all new processes, they will have an easier time communicating with their patients.
5. Collect Feedback From Patients
Finally, medical practices and hospital systems also need to collect feedback from patients regularly. If patients feel like they play a role in their experience, they will be more likely to return for future appointments. One of the best places to collect feedback from patients is to do so digitally. That way, patients will not feel the pressure to fill out a survey in front of the office staff, and they will have more time to expound on their visit. Collecting feedback from patients is a critical part of improving the communication process between the practice and patients.
Related article: Protecting Patient Privacy in the Age of Hyperconnectivity.
Meet the Demands of Patients With Better Communication Tools From PatientCalls
These are just a few of the many ways that hospital systems and medical practices can better meet the demands of patients using communication tools. At PatientCalls, it would be our pleasure to help you upgrade your communication systems to better meet the demands of your patients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.