No-shows, late payments, long wait times, barriers to specialty care… If you are struggling with any of these common practice issues, it may be because you aren’t providing the level of convenience expected by patients today.
New tech solutions for patient care are redefining the classic doctor-patient relationship that has dominated the medical industry for decades, demanding that practices change the way they operate to stay afloat. The advent of the mobile phone, in particular, has created a massive shift in patient expectations for convenience and possibilities for improving care.
With new mobile advances, doctors can see patients from 100 miles away, medical bills can be paid while away on holiday, and the average joe can track personal health data simply by wearing a bracelet.
How do these trends impact your practice? What can you do to keep up?
We're breaking down some of the most popular medical mobile trends in 2019 and how they can apply to your healthcare practice!
By leveraging the use of cell phones and other mobile devices, telehealth can promote better health outcomes and access to information through accessibility and convenience. With telehealth, your practice can overcome travel barriers, expand your patient base, and improve communication with patients and specialists.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care."
Examples of telehealth services include:
● Live video conferencing with medical professionals
● Remote monitoring of medical conditions
● Mobile applications for health services and tracking
● Mobile reminders for appointments and exams
This could be anything from an app that helps diabetic patients estimate how much insulin they need based on diet or exercise, to the use of programs that help medical professionals provide care to remote areas for prisons, the military, and residents of rural communities.
How can you integrate telehealth into your practice? Embracing telemedicine, which describes clinical services provided over a mobile device, just may be the next wave of clinical innovation. Telemedicine provides convenient, accessible care for patients.
For example, patients with mobility issues who have difficulty making it into an appointment can be consulted remotely using telemedicine solutions. This can reduce overhead costs and provide a convenient option for visitors who have trouble making it into the office.
Telemedicine generates scheduling flexibility, improved patient communication, and reduces no-shows by eliminating the travel component.
Store-and-forward telemedicine describes the sharing of patient medical information (such as lab results, imaging, videos, etc.) with a specialist from another location. Your hospital or medical practice can dramatically improve service offerings by embracing the opportunity to provide specialty services without a specialist on-site. Store-and-forward telemedicine is particularly popular in radiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, and pathology.
With telemedicine solutions, you can improve:
● Access to specialty care without travel
● Wait times for specialty consultations
● Communication between PCPs and specialists
Your patients can have a team behind them that spans across time zones, states, or just a few towns away - this option is growing in popularity for diagnosing and developing treatment plans for patients across many fields.
Telehealth is all about making your patients’ lives easier. For patients who don't get around easily or live in rural communities, telehealth and telemedicine are excellent, rapidly growing tools in 2019.
Online Bill Pay
According to Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the average practice needs to send over three paper invoices to patients before receiving payment - over time, this can translate into weeks or even months of waiting for payment from a patient.
That is if you don’t have online bill pay available.
Online bill pay is a no-brainer as a mobile trend in 2019: online bill pay can help you to effectively collect receivables, and patients who receive their bill requests online are more likely to pay quickly. Online bill pay is also transparent and convenient for patients.
Automated patient collections provide an additional option to reduce overhead and help patients easily manage their payments. When patients are able to leave a card on file for their medical transactions, payment for services becomes seamless and efficient for you and your patients.
Our experts at Clearwave have found that automated payment solutions can result in an average of a 68% reduction in outstanding balances over 120 days! What’s more, we have also found that practices that implement streamlined collections solutions can increase the point of service collections by 20% or more. Imagine what simply installing online bill pay could do for your practice collections and efficiency!
Solutions that increase billing efficiency saving you time and money. In fact, back in 2015, Goldman Sachs claimed that the medical industry going digital can save upwards of $300 billion on healthcare.
With innovations like online bill pay and automated payment collections for medical offices, it’s easy to see why! Without online bill pay options, your revenue stream may be suffering.
Look around your waiting room. How many people are wearing a fitness tracker of some kind, like a FitBit or an Apple Watch? Wearables are one of the most popular medical mobile trends of 2019, and they aren't going anywhere!
Part of the wearables craze is the fact that they integrate so well with telehealth apps. You can track your steps, heart rate, and even how well you slept last night simply by wearing a device. According to a 2013 survey from EHR vendor eClinicalWorks, 93% of doctors say mobile apps can enhance the quality of patient health.
With more resources available to monitor health and access information, patients are becoming more health-conscious and eager to monitor how their choices can impact their wellbeing. More clinically-focused wearable devices are breaking their way into the market, such as medical-grade wearables that detect cardiac stress, or services like Aira, which can help vision-impaired patients receive access to trained guides.
Your medical office can capitalize on this by helping your patients find resources that pertain to their particular health situations and needs. In the end, it's all about keeping your patients happy and healthy.
A 2018 survey from Netwrix data security company found that 84% of respondents stored Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII), or financial data in a cloud environment.
With so much information in “the cloud”, integrations with electronic medical records are becoming a terrific way for medical entities to streamline processes. This concept can be readily applied to digital check in at your practice or on a mobile device.
Manual check in procedures are slow, time-consuming, and an easy way to lose patients. Asking patients to fill in paperwork (and your staff to manually input this data) can lead to errors and leach time from patient visits.
Mobile, electronic patient check in systems that integrate with the cloud and your EMR are crucial to reducing errors and speeding up patient intake. In our digital world, these are conveniences that your patients expect from you.
Which mobile trends are you most excited about, and what is your practice doing to keep up with rapidly developing technological trends?
If you are seeking ways to modernize your practice, increase efficiencies, and help provide your patients with mobile healthcare solutions, check out the features Clearwave’s custom patient intake solution has to help medical entities like yours.