As we move into spring, many of us are checking in on routines, resolutions, and personal goals set on January first. If some resolutions have fallen off, don’t feel bad. In fact, only about 7% of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions. For many healthcare providers, goal setting is now more important than ever before as many practices and health systems focus on new priorities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, according to a recent survey of 900+ healthcare providers conducted by Updox, providers ranked patient satisfaction as their number one priority in 2022 and beyond, followed by running a profitable practice, improving patient outcomes and decreasing time spent on paperwork.
These priorities are further illustrated by the fact that independent physicians lost up to $158 billion from 2020 to 2021, and 7 out of 10 healthcare workers say they feel burnt out. As a result, healthcare practices are increasingly focused on how to further enhance the patient experience, while also reducing costs and overcoming challenges with staff burnout and caregiver shortages. And while there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to attaining these goals, below are steps providers can take to achieve their top practice priorities in 2022.
#1 – Boost Patient Satisfaction and Outcomes by Communicating with Patients Where they Are – On Their Phones
Patient engagement in healthcare is rising in importance as telemedicine and virtual care become a more common part of the healthcare landscape. In fact, according to a recent survey by Updox, 41% of patients expect their healthcare provider to offer telehealth appointment options beyond the pandemic, as such offerings are vital to increasing safe access to care and boosting overall health outcomes.
Furthermore, since the start of the pandemic, the number of medical apps downloaded in the United States rose by 30%. Globally, around 3.4 billion individuals use mobile phones and tablets, and about half of them have downloaded at least one health application. This further demonstrates patients’ growing reliance on mobile phones, making it critical for healthcare providers to also offer services via such devices. From video chat and texting/SMS communication to facilitate telemedicine appointments and reduce back-and-forth phone calls, to automating reminders to reduce no-shows and assist with follow-ups, many technology tools can be leveraged to help providers strengthen relationships with their patients, thus overall boosting patient satisfaction and outcomes.
#2 – Implement New Healthcare Technology to Improve Efficiency
Nearly 41% of providers have stated they have saved 5-15 hours per week by leveraging digital technology, with 15% saving up to 25 hours per week. Adopting new processes and technology offerings can have a major impact on a practice’s bottom line. For example, online scheduling and automated patient reminder tools can greatly reduce staff time spent on placing phone calls and leaving voicemails, also resulting in a decrease in patient no-shows. In fact, more than 31% of practices recently reported a reduction in patient no-shows of up to 50% following the implementation of patient reminders and secure text solutions.
The fact of the matter is that healthcare technology is continually proving to be increasingly essential, with providers ranking video chat, patient reminders, and patient portals as some of the top tech they expect to have the biggest impact on their practice in 2022 and beyond.
#3 – Convert to a Paperless Practice to Reduce Time Spent on Paperwork
Healthcare paperwork is not only expensive, but the overall process is also time-consuming for staff. Paperwork is estimated to cost U.S. practices more than $800 billion, and it takes roughly 18 minutes for someone to find the information they need in a paper document, resulting in major time and money losses for today’s healthcare practices.
Instead, providers could consider a paperless practice approach. Electronic forms, for example, not only enable providers to be more efficient and effective, but they are also less prone to human error – and most importantly, less expensive. In fact, nearly 30% of surveyed practices reduced paper costs by up to $500 by leveraging eForms, with some saving more than $2,500.
In all, as practice priorities inevitably evolve alongside the ever-changing healthcare landscape, improving patient satisfaction and running a profitable practice will – and should – remain a top priority for today’s providers. By ensuring practices utilize innovative healthcare technology offerings while meeting patients where they are – on their phones – both parties can benefit from a greater overall experience.
About the Author
Zach Zettler is president of Updox, an EverHealth brand, is a proven software industry executive with more than 25 years of successful sales, marketing, and operations leadership experience with a focus on driving innovation and growth in the health & human services software space. Zettler previously held senior business development and operational leadership positions with other fast-growing technology companies.
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