Automation in healthcare isn’t just a buzzword; it is a practical way to optimise your entire practice, from day-to-day office administration to billing to patient management. Despite being relatively new in healthcare, automation is nothing to be afraid of, proven by the fact that doctors and their practices are migrating to digital on a yearly and even monthly basis. If you haven’t made the change from outdated and burdensome paper-based methods to agile, automated solutions the chances are that you haven’t considered all of the benefits to automation which includes cost savings, reduced waste, better communication and improved efficiency, productivity and patient engagement. Here’s how you can realise the benefits of applying automation in your practice:
Reduce the admin burden
Paperwork is probably the most burdensome task in any doctor’s practice. Admin staff often spend disproportionate amounts of time completing administrative tasks, duplicating information and data capture while constantly at risk of human error when carrying out these functions. Introducing a digital solution automates manually time-intensive and redundant tasks which frees up the time of the administrator, and even the doctor, to carry out more high-functioning and important patient-facing tasks.
Human error is not only a nuisance in the doctor’s practice, it’s unfortunately an all too common occurrence. With automation comes better quality, consistency and accuracy of captured information, and it also eliminates duplication in, for example, patient files. Also while paper can be handy when you need to jot something down quickly, that slip of paper can easily get lost or damaged. This is another benefit of cloud-based automation – once the information is digitally captured it can be securely accessed from any location.
Cost savings & improved insights
You can’t have good practice management without an efficient payments and invoicing system in place. Automation ensures patient bills are managed, settled or reimbursed by medical aids promptly and accurately – the basis of a financially healthy practice.
Automation also streamlines the practice management process and enables staff to handle a larger patient populations, which correlates to increased revenue. The wealth of data that’s accumulated through electronic systems can be viewed in real-time and used for performance improvement and optimisation to ensure your practice is running as optimally as possible. For example, these valuable data-driven insights can be used to generate real-time reports and provide accurate and honest insights into the successes or challenges of your doctor’s practice, and also provide an accurate overview of how you are operating and what needs to be adjusted to ensure improved efficiency.
Running an efficient and profitable doctor’s practice is important, but just as important is ensuring you have satisfied patients. One of the top complaints patients have about making a doctor’s appointment is the inconvenience of having to make a phone call and being placed on hold before finally getting through to find out about available days and time slots. Digital solutions that automate the appointment booking process, such as an online patient booking platform, alleviate the burden on staff and patients alike. On the doctor’s side, the same solution can be connected to their management system to easily view requested appointments and schedule them into your digital diary.
Automation also helps in ensuring patients make their appointments on time because reminders can be sent out via email or SMS, as well as alerts about follow up appointments. Patients rely on digital solutions in their everyday life, so why should their healthcare be any different?
The reality of healthcare in every country is that patients are mobile; it’s therefore no longer feasible to not support the patient’s journey with an electronic medical record (EMR) solution. It’s time consuming and dangerous to expect a patient to carry their yellow paper folder containing all of their important medical information with them to their next doctor’s appointment; the file could get damaged, lost or even stolen.
An automated system can send pertinent medical information to the referred healthcare provider at the click of a button. In addition, digital medical images and lab results can be requested and forwarded as needed throughout the patient’s healthcare pathway, ensuring the avoidance of unnecessary wastage and costs associated with duplicate tests.
Having a digital picture of the patient’s history also allows for a greater overview of the patient’s health and whether they are on track to achieving desired outcomes. Having the patient’s data in front of you also makes it easier to determine whether the patient has deviated from their care plan or medicine regimen so that interventions can be facilitated, as necessary.
Automation is no longer an option
Quality and timely healthcare is a necessity and automation has become an essential enabler to achieving these important milestones. Applying automation in your practice can be as simple as choosing the right technology partner who has the experience and insights to ensure the process is seamless and you’re able to start realising the benefits as soon as possible. If you haven’t yet made the change, get in touch and make the move towards providing the best care and quality service possible.