For some, even the suggestion that care can be automated is an oxymoron. Automated care seems like the exact opposite of the personalised care patients have come to expect from their chosen healthcare professionals.
It’s true that smaller private practices have a distinct advantage over larger medical centres because they can more easily provide personalised care to each patient. But this personalisation can also ramp up admin & comes at a cost. Automation offers the convenience of being able to elevate the patient experience, while not adding to your & your staff’s workload.
So, what do you automate? There’s a wide variety of services & processes to choose from, but the trick is to automate the parts of patient care that don’t detract from their time with the doctor or practitioner. Using the guiding principle that when a patient is at their appointment, they can focus on their health & their doctor’s advice – here are 5 easy ways to automate care at your medical practice.
1. Automate appointment reminders
Phone calls have become an inefficient means of communication. Advertising, telemarketing & scams are a few reasons why people reserve answering calls only from stored contacts & rarely listen to voicemails. It’s also a huge drain on time & resources to try & manually message each patient individually, at the right time.
A good practice management system can automate SMS appointment reminders. Your patients will be thankful to receive a useful, non-invasive reminder of their scheduled appointment, at the right time. Plus, these reminders can dramatically reduce no-shows, lost revenue, & the admin burden of scheduling appointments.
2. Automate patient charts
Do you spend a lot of overtime updating patient files? The good news is that automation can make this onerous task obsolete. The days of manually writing information are long gone. These days, portable devices means you can update patient files on the go from your tablet, for example, with easy-to-use click templates. Plus, patient data that you input can be trended & organised automatically for you. This translates into extra free time that you can spend seeing patients & better patient care.
3. Automate patient interactions
When it comes to automating patient interaction, you’re not aiming to eliminate the human element – your aim should be to provide convenience at frequent points of interaction. For example, patients are more inclined to be loyal to medical practices that make it easy for them to make appointments. There are a few plug-&-play types of online booking platforms that can integrate with your practice’s calendar to enable this. Not only does this sort of service boost your website’s organic search results on Google, but it allows patients the convenience of booking appointments without the added admin burden.
4. Automate personalised messages
Do you remember when the medical practice staff would handwrite & post a birthday card to all the patients celebrating in a month? We don’t either, but every business benefits from a personal touch. You are able to offer that elevated experience to build patient loyalty by automating personalised messages.
Set up your system to automatically send patients personalised messages (using their first name, is an example of less formal personalisation) to wish them ‘happy birthday’ or to remind them of their upcoming flu jab. This easy-to-use feature makes patients feel special & important. Automating personalised messages is a straightforward way to boost the patient-practitioner relationship & overall patient experience.
5. Automate practice admin tasks
Admin staff often spend disproportionate amounts of time duplicating data capture. In some instances, the same basic patient information needs to be input into separate systems that don’t ‘talk’ to each other. Every time a staff member needs to re-capture information, the chances of human error increase when it comes to spelling names, getting numbers correct & so on. Plus, if staff are stuck doing admin they are neglecting your number one – patients. To fix this, you should automate key admin tasks that can instantly alleviate the admin burden for staff. Focus on automated benefit checks & automated reconciliations, you’ll see that your staff can instantly offer a better level of service to your patients.
We called it an advantage earlier, but private medical practices are often held to a higher standard when it comes to personalised attention & care. Automation is a powerful way to improve patient care & expectations. For more information about how to go about implementing automations at your practice, click here.
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