With the rise of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative to establish proper communication and engagement with patients to ensure the best outcomes. However, patient engagement should start as soon as they interact with your clinic, whether online, in-person, or on the phone, and not later on during their first appointment.
Additionally, you need to maintain this communication after their appointment concludes until they're no longer your patient. While engaging with dozens, if not more, of patients for an extended period of time might seem complicated at first, there are many ways to provide better patient engagement without overworking your staff or sacrificing quality care.
Patient Engagement and Quality Care
Proper patient engagement means including the patient in the process of gathering information, formulating a diagnosis, and making decisions based on their symptoms, current situation, and diagnosis. This approach encourages the patient to be more open and honest with their care provider, ensuring there's no miscommunication.
Additionally, if the patient is engaged in their treatment, they're more likely to trust their doctor, follow suit with their treatment plan, and provide critical feedback after the fact.
The Next Generation of Patient Interaction
Nowadays, running a clinic and engaging actively with patients has become automated thanks to advanced software. NextGen Healthcare software can help in various ways, from practice management (PM) software and revenue cycle management (RCM) to electronic healthcare records (EHR) software, which over 85 percent of office-based physicians use.
While those might be the most critical aspects of managing a clinic, NextGen also has software and tools to improve patient engagement, such as patient portals, direct communication tools, and data visualization tools.
When it comes to improving patient engagement and communication, you don't have to do everything on your own or hire specialized staff to handle the matter. There are a variety of software solutions to optimize and automate this complex yet essential aspect of your clinic, including:
- Simplified Check-in – You can use software to automate and streamline the patient check-in process. It features an auto-fill function making the process easier for your employees and allows patients to schedule appointments online without calling.
- Seamless Billing Solutions – The healthcare industry’s billing cycle can be complicated. Still, specialized software can streamline most of the process, minimizing the need for human intervention. It can also immediately notify your billing staff whenever there's a billing error before it's too late.
- Patient Portal – Patient portals are an online gateway for your patients to access their medical records and related information and documents. It allows them to efficiently communicate with you and your staff, pay their bills, and schedule appointments without having to call or visit your clinic.
- Automated Patient Outreach – This feature allows you to send automatic reminders, notes, and documents to your patients without having to call or email them one by one.
- Virtual Visits – Not all visits are urgent or require a physical examination. Virtual visits allow your patient to hold a visit with their physician using a secure video conferencing tool. Not only do virtual visits make it more accessible to patients with busy schedules or who live far away, but they leave more of your examination rooms vacant for more urgent conditions.
Depending on your clinic's current situation and your patient demographic, your software needs might differ. Don't hesitate to use what could benefit you and avoid investing in something of less value for your clinic.
As much as software and electronic tools can benefit your clinic, both from a business and a patient care perspective, going into them head-on without prior knowledge can have the opposite effect. To ensure you get the right type of software for your clinic, you can work with a consulting company to help you utilize your NextGen software and tools to the fullest.
In addition to expert advice, consultants can provide you with dashboards and reporting templates. They also can help with specialized staff training to ensure they can all use your NextGen software properly, limiting user error and getting all employees on the same level regardless of technical background. Consulting can help with aspects essential to successfully implementing NextGen PM and EHR software with minimal drawbacks.
Technology is Key
While it might feel counterintuitive to introduce technology when you need to create better communication and engagement, it's essential. The average person is used to having technology integrated into various parts of their lives. That should also include the most critical aspect of their livelihood; medical care. Technology offers a win-win situation for your clinic, allowing you to grow and your staff to focus on their primary tasks while providing comfort and convenience for your patients.