It is hard to have a conversation anymore without the whirlwind of 2020 coming up. For most of us, it is the first time in living history that a global pandemic has had such a widespread impact on people, industry, and governments around the world. Healthcare was at the forefront of trying to minimise the effects of COVID-19 and as a result highlighted more than a few important lessons. For private practices, the ability to adapt quickly and utilise technology to reach patients became essential to the survival of their businesses. In this blog, we recap the top 5 lessons learned in 2020 and how to use them to thrive in 2021.
1. Anytime, anywhere access to your practice is essential
Cloud-based medical practice software is no longer a nice to have – it is a necessity. There’s a reason why all the big tech giants use cloud-based software – it’s the only way to move seamlessly into the future. Some might argue that healthcare isn’t a ‘tech’ service, but the need to access practice information remotely is not going anywhere. Cloud-based medical practice software is a powerful way to future-proof your business because you are no longer tied to a brick and mortar model of service delivery, so both you and your staff are able to carry out business as usual from anywhere, anytime. In addition, cloud-based software is updated remotely, meaning no need for downtime or interruptions.
TIP: If you haven’t already, you need to look for a technology partner that provides user-friendly, cloud-based software. Click here to access a guide that will help you to choose cloud-based medical practice software that is best suited to your unique practice.
2. Paper files no longer provide suitable benefits
Not only do paper files pose a security risk (think theft, fire, etc.) and take up an unnecessary amount of space at your practice, but they also drastically limit you and/or your staff’s ability to access patient information when you are not physically at the practice. On the other hand, EMRs will give you the information you need, when you need it, with patient information summarised and trended in a meaningful manner. If anything, 2020 has shown us that there is no better time for medical practices to migrate from paper to digital.
TIP: If you are still using paper files, you can start transferring them to electronic medical records as and when you see patients to avoid any downtime or delay in carrying out day-to-day tasks. To help you on your paperless journey, click here to access a step-by-step guide to help you go paperless.
3. Virtual consults will become the norm
The national lockdown of 2020 demonstrated the fact that it will not always be possible for patients to visit your practice. And that contrary to popular belief, patients can adapt to virtual consults and medical professionals can provide quality services remotely. What’s more is that data shows that patients actually prefer the convenience and practicality of Telehealth – especially when it comes to renewing prescriptions, routine visits and to get test results. Practices that want to protect their income from other pandemics and/or create an additional revenue stream would be wise to implement an effective Telehealth solution.
TIP: Have you been wondering how best to implement a Telehealth solution? Click here to access a guide that will tell you everything you need to know about Telehealth implementation.
4. Digital communication channels are vital
Pandemics are the catalyst for abrupt change and confusion. When and how you communicate with patients has become paramount to retaining and attracting patients. Patients appreciate updates about changes that affect them, but practice staff can’t sit on the phone for hours trying to call each and every patient. You need to be able to communicate with patients quickly and effectively – such as by BulkSMS, email, social media and more.
TIP: Set up at least one digital platform where you can easily share and update practice information. Click here to access a guide that will show you some of the best ways to get started.
5. You need to be able to collect payments digitally
Being able to run your practice virtually is one thing, but being able to accept payments virtually is crucial to keeping the doors open. Investigate ways to collect payments regardless of location but more importantly, choose your patients preferred payment methods, such as Snapscan – a convenient, cashless way to pay from a mobile phone.
TIP: Knowing which payment options to implement may take some thinking. Click here for a guide to help you weigh up the pros and cons of each form of payment.
Healthbridge is the technology partner of choice for over 5000 medical practices. Throughout the pandemic, Healthbridge has actively found ways to support medical professionals to run their best business in the face of uncertainty. Click here to find out more about how Healthbridge can help you future-proof your practice and give you the support you need to thrive in 2021 and beyond.