By Concierge Medicine Today’s DocPreneur Leadership Podcast
Questions Discussed In Today’s Webinar + Podcast Include:
Online appointment scheduling is one of the essential digital experiences sought by healthcare consumers. How does offering online scheduling options benefit both patients and medical practitioners?
Waiting on hold can be frustrating for patients. What are some strategies or technologies that medical practitioners can implement to reduce hold times and provide patients with more control over their scheduling experience?
Effective communication between patients and providers is crucial for better healthcare outcomes. How can a digital patient portal with two-way messaging improve communication and empower patients to manage their own conditions?
What would you say are the main advantages of telehealth, and how can it complement traditional in-person care?
How can embracing digital technologies, such as online scheduling, digital communication, and telehealth, contribute to better patient engagement, satisfaction, and overall practice success in this digital age?
As we move towards a digital future in healthcare, what challenges or barriers might medical practitioners face when implementing?
Maximizing patient satisfaction through digital innovation: A guide for healthcare providers
Now, more than ever, healthcare consumers want digital experiences; we are, after all, living in a digital age. There are 3 essential digital experiences that healthcare consumers are seeking from their medical practitioners: online appointment scheduling, communication with their provider between visits through a patient portal, and telehealth. Offering these services puts consumers in the driver’s seat of their healthcare, where they want to be. It also makes your practice more attractive to potential patients looking for a medical home.
1. Offer online scheduling options
How long is too long to wait on hold?
For 60% of consumers, one minute is the max time they’ll wait on hold — any longer, and they’ll simply hang up. In fact, 30% think there should never be any hold time at all. If a potential patient calls to schedule an appointment and is put on hold, they might simply move on to another practice. You’ll never even know that you lost them.
Patients expect to book appointments when it’s convenient for them, and they expect to do it easily, with no wait time.
Of course, your staff can’t drop everything to take every phone call, and they aren’t available 24 hours a day. You can solve this dilemma in a few different ways:
- Choose a digital phone solution with a virtual waiting room that lets patients choose whether they want to remain on hold or keep their place in line, hang up, and wait to be called back. This reduces hold times and gives patients more control.
- Add an online booking option to your website. Many patients prefer to schedule appointments after traditional working hours, especially since calling a provider (and potentially waiting on hold) takes time away from their own work day. Online booking allows patients to book appointments when they are available to do so, and can also reduce miscommunications about available dates and times.
- Use booking software that syncs with your in-office scheduling system. By taking the task of scheduling appointments completely off your front desk, you free staff up to attend to other important tasks. Plus, the software offers the opportunity to collect data so you can track important metrics — like your no-show rates.
2. Offer digital options for between-visit communication
When patients have questions, they want, and expect, answers immediately. In a recent survey, 37% of patients said they wanted to be able to reach out and quickly receive answers to their questions, 34% said they wanted more communication with their physicians between visits, and 23% said they would prefer more frequent check-ins.
A digital patient portal with two-way messaging offers opportunities for communication to flow between patients and providers. Patients can reach out when they have questions or concerns about their treatment plans or prescriptions, and providers can check in on patients to see whether they are following their care plan, taking their medications correctly, or experiencing any pain or other concerning symptoms. This both empowers patients to manage their own conditions and frees up providers for appointments that require more bandwidth.
With patient education on using the service appropriately and a well-designed messaging system, you can minimize additional workload while improving patient outcomes.
3. Offer telehealth as an option
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only about 5% of patients accessed care remotely via telehealth. In 2022, however, 25% of patients used telehealth. And according to Tebra’s patient perspective survey, 15% of respondents preferred a telehealth option.
Why telehealth? In a word: access. Telehealth offers patients access to care in a way that wasn’t possible before, eliminating barriers to care like transportation, childcare, or concerns about exposure to other people’s illnesses in the waiting room.
While telehealth can’t, and shouldn’t, fully replace in-person care, it does offer a useful alternative for addressing a range of health concerns, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms
- Routine diabetes care and check-ins
- Certain skin conditions
The digital future is today
The future is here, and it’s digital. Transforming these 3 areas of your practice will not only promote better health and outcomes for your better engaged and satisfied patients, but it will also help keep your practice healthy in this new era of digital patient care.
Source/Credit: Andrea Kowalski is Senior Vice President of Products at Tebra
In 2021, with a combined mission to unlock better healthcare, Kareo and PatientPop joined forces to form Tebra — a complete practice automation solution for independent healthcare practices. With an all-in-one, purpose-built platform to drive practice success and modernize every step of the patient journey, Tebra provides digital tools and support to attract new patients, deliver modern care, get paid quickly, and operate efficiently. To learn more how Tebra is committed to improving the success and well-being of both patients and providers, visit www.tebra.com.
Andrea Kowalski is Senior Vice President of Products at Tebra, a leading cloud-based healthcare technology platform. In 2021, Kareo and PatientPop merged to form Tebra and Andrea enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to oversee the integrated Tebra product team. Andrea joined Kareo in 2018.
As Senior Vice President of Products, Andrea leads the product and integrated platform strategy, oversees the entire product lifecycle, and drives forward with delivering customer-focused solutions. Andrea demonstrates passion for healthcare, product management, and the Tebra mission. She has significant knowledge of product management, healthcare technology, and clinical workflows. She also understands the market, customers, and products.
In 2020, she spearheaded the development of Kareo’s integrated telehealth solution and helped to increase provider adoption by 40%. During her time at Kareo, and also critical while navigating COVID-19, she led the team to strengthen and expand the platform’s EHR to better support mental health care. Across the Tebra platform, Andrea is passionate about improving the consumer experience within healthcare and helping independent practices thrive as businesses while delivering quality care.
Prior to Tebra, Andrea was at athenahealth for eight years, where she advanced their clinical product for the ambulatory and hospital market. Prior to athenahealth, she was at Citigroup and developed innovative electronic trading solutions.
She holds a bachelor of science degree from Boston University and an MBA from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. Andrea is also a founding member of Chief, a national organization that promotes and supports women in leadership positions. Andrea currently lives in Boston, and when she’s not focused on improving the healthcare industry, she’s traveling and exploring new wine regions.