A New Era in Medical practice

December 20th, 2008

Everywhere that I can think of technology has entered every aspect of our lives. The way we watch television has changed with the advent of TIVO, the way we drive is different now that GPS devices are readily available. Our phones are now like pocket computers and the games that our children and grandchildren now play are so far advanced compared to the Atari systems that we clamored for. How do you envision incorporating technology into your medical practice management in the New Year?

We know that technology in a medical practice equals more efficiency and better productivity. Look at how incorporation of electronic medical records can change the way a practice operates, both big and small. Perhaps you are thinking that you do not have enough money to invest in an EMR, or you do have an EMR and don’t see the need to incorporate any other process flow changes into your practice. Let me tell you about some other medical practice management tools that can be a tremendous resource and asset and can easily be incorporated into your practice.

Virtual Receptionist

Initially this concept sounded so out of synch with how I envision a medical receptionist. My first impression of a great medical receptionist is one who remembers patients’ names and shows up on time to open the office and greet each one with a smile. This person would also require little on the job training and orientation. And most importantly, they would be efficient at what they do and be able to multitask and jump in where needed. However, the more I thought though of what my actual experiences are with medical receptionists I realized that I am used to high turnover in this position and lower job satisfaction whether it’s due to being overwhelmed, receiving little pay, or dealing with sick and sometimes difficult patients. A virtual receptionist is a cost effective way to consistently have high standards of care delivered. What it cannot provide in face to face interaction, is certainly made up in its efficiency and ability to be a value add to any practice.

Automated On-Call System

A virtual on-call system really sells itself. Imagine not being bothered at various times of the evening or night because you were incorrectly contacted by your on-call service? Think about the struggles you sometimes face with finding a service that is affordable and has the ability to triage urgent from non-urgent calls and transmit names, numbers and chief complaints accurately. An automated system does all of this for you in addition to scheduling appointments for those complaints that are not urgent. This has tremendous benefits for the front office staff of a practice.

Automated Patient Reminder System

Another concept that I immediately took to was the idea of an automated patient reminder system. This system can call patients and remind them of an upcoming appointment. Incorporating the process of visit reminders into your practice can cut down on no-show rates and frees your front office staff up to do other more importantly things. All of this at a fraction of the cost that you would expect given the return in value.

For some of us including me, getting pulled into this new technologic era has come with some hesitancy and reluctance. But, the more that I explore and find out how these cost effective advances can be combined with medical practice efficiencies that increase a bottom line and also contribute to good patient care then I am more of a believer.

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