After EHRs and online scheduling, what are the next patient-focused technologies you should consider?
Why is it that you can now scan and pay for your groceries while you shop, schedule a massage online, and deposit a check via smartphone, but in many doctors’ offices patients are still handed a clipboard to fill out paper forms and a stack of dull pamphlets to read? Health care is notorious for being behind the times when it comes to technology. And yet, there are proven benefits to adopting the right tools and software, for your patients and your practice.
Modernizing your medical practice
As of 2017, nearly 9 in 10 medical practices (86 percent) had made the transition to EHRs. Many practices have also embraced online appointment scheduling and bill pay in response to patient demand. An Intuit Health survey found that 81 percent of patients prefer to schedule a doctor’s appointment online, and 40 percent would consider switching providers for online access.
So what’s the next technology worth investing in? “Modernizing the patient experience” was the #1 medical practice tech trend last year, according to Ken Comee, CEO of CareCloud, in an article for Tincture. This includes software solutions and apps that streamline common activities, avoiding redundant actions like multiple entries of information.
As with medical records and scheduling, another area of health care ripe for reinvention through technology is patient education.
Patient education is another area ripe for reinvention through technology. Instead of playing a frustrating and potentially harmful game of telephone by relaying verbal instructions to patients and trusting that they will remember and share that information accurately to family and caregivers, doctors can rely on patient education tools that clearly explain and illustrate health conditions and treatment options.
Software that facilitates shared decision-making
Not only are narrated animations like Rendia’s better for reaching patients of all literacy levels and learning styles, they are easily shared by email, on social media, and through patient portals. Furthermore, patient education videos help facilitate shared decision-making (SDM.)
Decision aids like patient education videos facilitate shared decision-making, a best practice for modern medical providers.
The web site Software Advice names SDM among the best practices for modern medical practices, citing a survey it conducted that found a combined 68 percent of U.S. patients said they would prefer to make treatment decisions collaboratively, along with their doctor.
Decision aids like patient education videos have also been shown to improve patient satisfaction and help practices manage risk and boost their reputation. Tools like Exam Mode and Outcome Simulator make the process of SDM feel interactive and tangible for patients and caregivers. They add a visual component to patient consultations that solidifies understanding and confidence about treatment decisions.
For more on this, see Using Decision Aids to Help Patients Make Treatment Decisions.
No ‘one size fits all’ solutions
“Using the right technology in your small medical practice can provide several benefits such as reduced medication errors, better communication, improved efficiency, and lower costs,” according to Software Advice.
Consider your practice size, specialty, and existing technology when considering new tech tools.
Be aware that there are no “one size fits all” technologies or tools that suit all practices. Rather, choose one that’s right for your specialty, size, and practice goals, the article recommends. You also want a tool that integrates well with any existing technologies you have, such as tablets or TVs, your practice’s web site and social media platforms, and perhaps your patient portal.
“It’s important for small and growing practices to select a vendor that offers both scalability and options for customization,” notes Software Advice, which recommends taking advantage of free trials and product demos to familiarize yourself and your staff with the technology before you buy.
Questions to ask when evaluating new technologies
Another best practice for modern medical practices—one that helps attract and retain patients—is providing resources for medical education and support, according to Software Advice. The company conducted a survey of U.S. chiropractic patients and found that a combined 91 percent would be more likely to choose a chiropractor who uses multimedia educational materials (e.g., videos and digital images) over a similar chiropractor who did not. We could assume that this is true for other types of providers and specialties as well.
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A survey found that 91 percent of patients would choose a provider who uses multimedia educational materials over a similar one who did not.
At Rendia, we recommend practices ask themselves the following questions to evaluate software before they buy:
- What problems am I hoping to solve with this software?
- What goals am I seeking to achieve with this solution?
- How does this software compare to the available alternatives?
- What lessons can I learn from other practices that are using it?
- How will I measure the ROI of my subscription?
We work with health care providers to ensure that our software helps drive strategic goals—whether that means encouraging confident treatment decisions, improving patient satisfaction, or attracting new patients.