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Digitalizing the patient experience


A look at how digitalizing the patient experience can improve engagement and care.

Hello, this is Neil Baum from New Orleans, Louisiana. And I'd like to take between seven and eight minutes to talk with you about digitalizing the patient experience. In this video I will cover why patients are interested in a digitalized experience. And I'll give you some examples of how to self schedule how to use appointment reminders and how to take a digital intake of the patient before they come to the office.

Now, these are some statistics regarding online appointment scheduling and I just like to call to your attention that most patients including baby boomers, want to avail themselves to Self Scheduling with you and your office. Unfortunately, less than 50% of practices offer online appointment scheduling at this time.

There are multiple benefits of online appointment scheduling, because you are able to capture before they come to the office. Their information including their insurance, their contact information, and their demographics. It reduces manual data entry into the computer taking time for either the patient or someone in your office to transfer that data from their questionnaire into the electronic medical record. It results in improved productivity in the practice and enhances patients flow within the practice. Patients can also use this technology to pay for their visit before they come to the office. And they can allow you to set up payment plans for your patients.

Ultimately, it is an improvement in revenue cycle management for your practice. It reduces patient time to achieve access to the practice and giving the patient reminders after they schedule online significantly reduces the no show rate.

The take home message on online appointment scheduling, it fulfills the needs and wants of patients. They want to streamline their visit to the office. They don't want to wait in the office for 20 or 30 minutes filling out a form before they can be seen by the physician is significantly improves efficiency and productivity ultimately enhances revenue. And it closes the gap on what patients expect regarding their health care experience and the service that you provide Self Scheduling allows patients to make an appointment or request an appointment on your practices website and it can be conducted from their mobile devices. You can find these programs by going to the Google search box and just typing in online scheduling programs. I found that even Zoom offers online scheduling and provides calendars of availability and even provides appointment reminders. The link to zoom scheduler is shown on this slide. It reduces your no show rate. And again it will enhance the efficiency, productivity and your patients experience.

Technology, including artificial intelligence and generative AI, can be used for management of chronic conditions. These programs can submit reminders to patients regarding their medications, giving them options of making a preventive care appointment or doing wellness screenings, and it can be used for educating patients with chronic medical problems. For example, patients with congestive heart failure. You can use artificial intelligence to provide educational material to the patient and the family at the time of discharge from the hospital. And it's well documented, educated patients take better care of themselves. You can use text messaging to remind patients to take their medication. You can remind them to adhere to their diet, and especially with congestive heart failure patients to restrict their salt intake is it allows the doctor to respond to changes in symptoms like weight gain, shortness of breath, and peripheral edema. I take home messages that you can use technology to communicate with your patients between offices. And this enhances the relationship between the doctor and the patients and their families.

You can digitalize the intake process by having them complete the necessary demographic forms including their financial obligations and give having them sign the HIPAA disclosure forms. And importantly, they can complete their several page health questionnaire before they come to the office. And this can easily be transferred into the electronic medical record. This results in reduction of time from the patient entering the office to the time they are taking to the exam room. Also, this allows you to notify the patients of their copay at the time of their visit, their deductibles, and what will be their out of pocket expenses. The goal is that there should be no financial surprises to the patient. I take home messages if patients really prefer a digital experience regarding their finances, and this does result in an improved collection rate. The take home message on digitalizing the intake is you set expectations for the patient. It increases transparency and enhances communication and ultimately delivers a positive experience for your patients. So what's the bottom line on digitalizing the patient experience we must be able in healthcare to offer and embrace the tools that other service industries offer their customers such as hotels, scheduling, amazon.com and even what they can experience you know with their accountant, their lawyer, their CPA, these are services that digitalize the experience and healthcare needs to catch on. The digital communication enhances Self Scheduling, provides reminders between visits, provides information about the practice, which is available on the website and it prepares the patient for that first visit. The result is that you streamline the patient's health care experience. It's a triple win for patients, staff, and doctors. Well I hope you have found this video on digitalizing the patient experience helpful and useful if you would like a copy of the slide deck, you can reach me at this email address shown on the last slide. Thank you.

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician in New Orleans and the author of The Business of Building and Managing a Healthcare Practice, Springer 2023

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