As health care technologies become more advanced, patients may be more inclined to choose a provider based on the types of technologies available to them. Patient experience is not just about the clinical care patients receive. Patient experience is also determined by how patients are treated by the staff, their billing experience, the interaction with clinicians, and also the access to e-health technology. Patients that have access to health technology are healthier and happier patients.
In order for providers to provide an excellent patient experience and maintain a competitive edge, there are three technologies that the medical office should definitely implement.
Online Patient Portal
Patient portals offer patients the opportunity to communicate with the medical office in a variety of ways. Some features that a patient portal can offer include appointment scheduling, pre-registration, prescription refills, and online bill pay.
- Appointment scheduling allows patients to schedule appointments at their convenience since online portals are typically available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patients can schedule appointments day or night, and don’t have to call or be placed on hold.
- Pre-registration allows patients to complete important information online before they arrive for their appointment. Instead of a patient having to arrive 30 minutes early for an appointment, they can complete their forms prior to their arrival and save time for themselves and the office staff.
- Prescription refills are easily requested in the online portal. Physicians can electronically generate and transmit refill requests and authorizations.
- Patients can pay their bills online quickly and easily including setting up payment plans.
Telemedicine allows patients to interact with clinicians thru a virtual office visit via telephone or video conference. Aside from the virtual office visit, telemedicine can also include the reading and interpretation of certain radiology testing and/or evaluation, home monitoring, and more. While coverage for certain telemedicine services are limited currently, experts anticipate that more services will be eligible for insurance payments in the future.
Telemedicine provides a number of benefits to patients:
- It allows patients in rural areas more access to specialty services
- Patients can be diagnosed and treatment can get started almost immediately
- Emergency services or first responders can be notified immediately when patients are being monitored remotely
- Reduces unnecessary trips to the emergency room or urgent care centers
- Remote visits can occur even as an inpatient allowing patients to avoid transferring to other hospitals
- Patients receive more access to care, more timely care, and more quality care than ever before
Text messaging has become an excellent method for communicating with patients. Text messaging can be used to communicate appointment reminders, notifications, and educational messages to patients.
- Appointment reminders: Text messages can be sent to patients to remind them of their upcoming appointments. Messaging services can ask a patient to confirm an upcoming appointment. This will help reduce the number of no-shows or last-minute cancellations.
- Medication reminders: Patients with chronic illnesses can benefit from text messages that remind them to take their medication. Since many times, medication regimens are a part of a care plan, it is essential that medication is taken as prescribed to keep the patient on track and healthy.
- Health and wellness notifications: Text messages can be used to direct patients back to the patient portal so that patients can review lab or x-ray results, to schedule an annual visit or follow up appointment, or as a reminder to get a flu shot or cholesterol test. The possibilities are endless.