November 6, 2023
Healthcare workers and leaders are coping with more stressors than ever before. Financial pressure and employee shortages are driving high levels of burnout. Many technology solutions exist to relieve some of these challenges. Ironically, some healthcare leaders say the very thought of implementing new solutions can seem overwhelming in this resource-stretched environment.
It’s understandable—yet even small technology solutions can quickly deliver big results: less stress on overworked staff, faster payments, fewer errors and happier patients, all for a relatively small financial investment and a bit of training.
Where to begin?
Something as simple as digital forms using optical character recognition (OCR) technology is helping many healthcare systems improve their patient experience during preservice. The ease of digital forms and OCR also reduces the time-consuming manual data entry process that bogs down many front desk employees, while eliminating common errors that lead to insurance claim denials (and more work to find the problems and re-submit the claim!). Patients appreciate the ease and convenience too.
Maybe it’s time for more self-service payment options to reduce staff time spent taking routine payments (versus spending time solving problems that truly need human involvement). One healthcare system in Texas recently introduced digital payment options for patients. Now patients can click a link in their phone to make a payment. Patients also can set up a personalized payment plan from the privacy of their own mobile device. That kind of automated self-service benefits everyone, including customer service departments struggling with chronic staffing issues.
Setting and confirming appointments, as well as announcing weather-related office closures, can consume hours of staff time making calls and playing telephone tag with busy patients. Automated messaging with IVR technology can easily eliminate that arduous work, freeing up your staff for other vital tasks.
A major orthopedic clinic in Philadelphia is using preservice messaging, which has eliminated up to 600 appointment reminder calls to patients every week. This has been especially helpful for busy staff prepping patients for procedures. The clinic manager told us that “the alleviated phone pressure is a game changer.”
And don’t forget the back office team. Automated settlement-based reconciliation has proven to cut reconciliation time in half, as well as reducing costly and time-consuming errors.
Before implementing any new solution to improve efficiency and reduce staff pressure, make sure your vendor is committed to implementing it efficiently with as little involvement for your busy IT team as possible. Limiting the number of vendors you work with can also streamline your technology infrastructure. It also increases the likelihood that all of your solutions work together seamlessly.