Running an efficient clinic doesn’t just mean smoothing out bumpy workflows to improve operations.
“Efficiency” for primary healthcare providers can mean:
- Increasing your number of patients per hour because you’ve embraced video chat appointments
- Retaining patients because you’ve mastered personal, automated text and email communication, and people know you care about their well being
- Eliminating the administrative tasks of appointment booking for your staff, because all your patients can book online
- Maintaining perfect patient records through technology that integrates seamlessly with your EHR and other practice management software
- Holding daily check-ins with staff who may still be working remotely, to ensure your team is working together to improve patient experience during precarious times
But “efficiency” isn’t just about maintaining the status quo. It’s about asking the question, “How can I improve the processes I’ve taken for granted?” with the goal of attracting more patients, delighting your existing patients, and earning more revenue.
The key to running an efficient clinic is automation. When you automate administrative tasks that don’t need to be performed by a human being, you’re improving staff morale and increasing profitability.
How automation can help you manage a clinic efficiently
- Online booking eliminates time-consuming tasks like phone tag and calendar management for staff.
- Appointment reminders and recalls keep your booking calendar full by reducing no-shows and automatically scheduling your patients’ next appointments.
- Online forms collect patient information online and screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms, so your records are always up to date and your staff remains safe.
- Online payments make it easier for patients to pay for your services without interacting with staff.
- Marketing and follow up emails increase patient retention and revenue by alerting patients of safety protocols and additional services at your clinic.
Find out how NexHealth can automate your dental clinic’s workflow from end to end. Request a demo.
Why now is a great time to improve your clinic’s efficiency
COVID-19 has created new challenges and opportunities for primary healthcare providers.
Now is a great time to reduce front desk staff administrative duties, so you can protect staff and other patients. Here are three problems automation tools can immediately address for your clinic:
- Patients and staff are stressed due to COVID-19. Automated communication can assuage any anxieties patients may have about safety protocols at your clinic, without adding to your staff workload.
- Healthcare providers are struggling to maintain revenue. Online booking removes “friction” in creative appointments, which means a fuller appointment calendar and more revenue for your clinic.
- Patients are now used to performing tasks online. Quarantine measures moved life online, and patients now expect an online experience for most tasks, including booking medical appointments and paying for those appointments online.
What tasks can you easily automate?
Not all administrative tasks require a human touch. In fact, due to COVID-19, some admin tasks shouldn’t include human contact, like payment transactions.
You can easily automate the following five administrative tasks by adopting an all-in-one practice management solution that is HIPAA compliant and integrates with your EHR.
Online booking reduces staff workload while making it more convenient for patients to book online in real-time.
How online booking helps staff manage your clinic more efficiently:
- Eliminates phone tag and manual appointment reminder calls for staff
- Reduces no-shows through automated calendar invites
- Reduces empty time slots due to cancellations with two-way sync – available time slots are updated in real-time and are therefore more likely to be filled
- Improves efficiency of marketing efforts by removing friction when a new patient decides to book an appointment with your clinic
Appointment reminders and recalls
Like online booking, appointment reminders and recalls automate the process of reminding patients about their booked appointments while making it easier for them to book their next one.
How appointment reminders and recalls help staff manage your clinic more efficiently:
- Reduces no-shows with automated appointment reminders through text
- Books follow up appointments based on treatment plans outlined in your EHR
- Customizes follow up communication according to patient needs, without staff involvement
Patient intake, medical history, authorization, and consent forms – these tasks don’t need to be performed manually. Online forms can smooth out the process of collecting patient information while making sure your EHR system remains up to date.
How HIPAA-compliant online forms help staff manage your clinic more efficiently:
- Screens patients for COVID-19 symptoms before arriving at your clinic
- Centralizes all patient data in one place, so your staff are always referencing the most up-to-date information
- Reduces waiting room time for patients who were previously providing intake information at your front desk – therefore reducing exposure to COVID-19
Online bill payment
Contactless payments are the future. When you adopt online payments for your clinic, you’re reducing your staff’s exposure to COVID-19 while saving your staff hours of bookkeeping time.
How online bill payments help staff manage your clinic more efficiently:
- Calculates bills automatically based on treatment plans
- Send patients itemized statements immediately after their appointment
- Deposits funds into your account as soon as payment is made
- Eliminates paper bills and lost bill payment
Marketing and follow-up emails
Personalized messages are important for patient retention, but how do you personalize a message without adding to your staff’s workload?
How automated patient communication helps staff manage your clinic more efficiently:
- Quickly send and duplicate automated text and email communications about new practice updates, events, special promotions, new staff members, and new services
- Send automated birthday messages – no need for your staff to remember and send manually
- Increase patient retention by showing them you care with preventative health messages
What to consider when you’re adopting automation tools for clinic efficiency
Once your automation software is up and running at your clinic, you’ll want to get the most out of it by setting yourself up for success. Here are four considerations to focus on when you’re automating processes for better clinic efficiency.
EHR and practice management software integrations
Every software solution you adopt should integrate seamlessly with your electronic health record (EHR) system.
Through APIs, your systems should “talk to each other” so all your patient information is centralized. Otherwise, you’ll end up duplicating work for your staff, and your practice will actually become less efficient with technology.
Take stock of exactly which tasks your staff are spending the most time accomplishing. You’ll want to survey your staff members to find out more about their day-to-day, so you can identify those tasks that can be automated.
Get a sense of how many hours per week your staff are spending on, say, making appointment reminder phone calls, so you can assess how much time you can expect to save with automation tools.
How do you currently communicate with your patients? How do they expect you to communicate with them?
If your patients aren’t used to receiving email and/or text communication from your clinic, you’ll want to let them know ahead of time that they’ll begin to receive messages on these platforms.
Launch messages like these can be a great opportunity to celebrate your adoption of new technology with your patients and to specifically let them know how they’ll benefit from the added convenience.
Your people are what make your clinic great. The adoption of any new technology should keep your staff in mind, and they should know how to use it before you implement it.
Even though your front desk staff will ultimately end up saving time because of automation tools, they should still know how to interact with the technology and troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
Proper staff training can reduce efficiency hiccups and fulfill your ultimate goal: hours of time saved for staff that work remotely or at your clinic.