Regardless of what kind of medical or wellness practice you are running, we’d bet that your days are pretty busy and chaotic.
With patients coming and going, scheduling conflicts popping up, and having to deal with billing and potentially insurance plans, it can feel like there are just not enough hours in a day to run your office effectively.
We get it—it takes so much time to run a business that you aren’t able to spend as much time actually providing the service or treatment that the business is built upon.
Trust us, you’re not alone in your frustrations.
That’s why there are a number of products and tools you can invest in to help make your office run efficiently.
This helps to take weight off your shoulders and the shoulders of your staff, while streamlining your processes. This all equates to a more positive patient experience.
The question is, what tools should you be investing in? The answer is going to largely depend on the type of practice you have and your personal needs. However, there are some categories of helpful resources for any small business owner, so let’s dive right in…
Electronic Health Records
Obviously, this one is specific to the healthcare industry, and may very well already be a tool that you use—especially if your practice is part of a larger healthcare network.
Electronic health records (or EHR) have quickly become the norm in the industry, for a number of reasons. Not only do they allow for the safekeeping of a patient’s comprehensive medical records, but they also make it quick and easy (and secure!) to share this information with other authorized healthcare professionals who are involved in a patient’s care.
They also can be easily accessible for the patients themselves, allowing them to be a more informed and active participant in their personal health and treatment.
With EHR in such demand, it’s no surprise that there are an abundance of brands that offer software to make EHR a reality. There can be a lot to consider when trying to select the program that best fits your practice, but doing your research will help.
Click here to check out Software Advice’s overview of products available in 2019.
Billing for services post-appointment is hard enough for any type of business, but things become especially tricky in the healthcare industry. With complicated insurance plans, varying co-pays, and overwhelmed patients, you probably feel like you are always waiting to get paid.
Keeping all this information organized and accessible is a full-time job in and of itself, which is why investing in a billing software system is probably a must for your practice.
When choosing the billing program that is best for you, it’s important to take into consideration how robust its offerings are, how easy it is to use, and how frequently it’s updated with necessary healthcare plan details and codes.
Just like with EHR, this is a very saturated market, with many options to consider. That’s why Capterra has helped by pulling together details on nearly 200 billing software systems—scroll through them here.
We know this is a topic we cover a lot, but for good reason.
The sensitive nature of personal healthcare is reflected in the regulations that are enforced across the industry. That’s why there are a number of forms that are required from a patient—from consent, to acceptance of privacy policies, to details of medical history. The purpose of all of these is to protect a patient’s rights, while also protecting practitioners in the unfortunate circumstance that something goes wrong.
Investing in software that allows you to make all of your practice’s forms electronic saves time and decreases the chance of human error—both for patients and for your staff.
Giving patients the preferred option to complete intake forms ahead of an appointment is beneficial for a number of reasons:
– It significantly cuts down on wait times in your office, allowing you to see more patients during the day and increase patient satisfaction.
– It gives patients the much-needed time to review and understand the documents you are presenting to them, instead of them quickly skimming the materials (at best) while checking in for an appointment.
– It ensures accurate documentation of all patient information and necessary signatures.
– It allows the safekeeping of sensitive patient information, instead of depending on a space-consuming and mistake-inviting paper filing system.
It’s especially valuable if you are able to accomplish other functions within the tool. For example, with IntakeQ, you are also able to take all of your scheduling digital, with optional settings for automatic reminders to be sent to patients via text or email. This takes the time-consuming burden off of your staff, leaving more time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Plus, it gives patients an easier and more flexible way of scheduling, rescheduling, and cancelling appointments, again having a positive effect on patient satisfaction. You can even embed our online booking widget into your practice’s website—talk about seamless!
Even with easy electronic forms at their fingertips, some patients may still chose to wait until checking into the appointment to tackle any intake forms. This can also happen for walk-ins or appointments that may be more urgent.
To make the process as organized and quick as possible while still keeping track of everything within the patient’s electronic file, it can be useful to use an iPad or other digital device to deliver intake forms upon check in.
IntakeQ’s friendly and intuitive interface makes it easy for patients to review and sign any necessary screens while in your office, so an investment in technology can be a huge gain for your practice.
Similarly, making a tech investment can improve your overall waiting room experience as well. You may find that including a TV to broadcast a local news channel or installing a sound system to play calming music while patients wait to be seen creates a more pleasant atmosphere.
Lastly, while not a tool per se, it’s important to remember how investing in your staff can pay you back tenfold.
The people who work within your practice are on the frontlines of your business, and have a very serious impact on the ways in which a patient may view your practice.
Making sure that employees are properly (and competitively) compensated helps to recruit and retain the best staff members for your team. (Check out one of our recent articles, How to Recruit New Employees for Your Practice, for more help in that department.)
Plus, keep in mind that most people are looking for growth in their careers, so make sure you are cultivating an environment of opportunity and reward to keep employees happy and working hard.
As a small practice, we are sure you understand the importance of being modest with your spending as a way to be profitable and successful.
However, there are areas and instances that require us to shell out a little money in order to help our businesses thrive. By assessing the most pressing needs of your practice and the places where you may be wasting time or manpower, you are then able to more clearly consider the types of tools or resources that could be beneficial for your bottom line.
As with anything, it’s always important to do your research, check out reviews or testimonials, and weigh the benefit of a cost against the value it could bring to your practice—and don’t forget to ask your staff’s opinions on the matter!