I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that human beings value convenience. Every day in America, 50 million people eat at a fast food restaurant. Likewise, 51% of American shoppers prefer shopping online over traveling to a physical store. And on-demand entertainment entities like Netflix continue to take over American households. Convenience is the name of the game, it seems. So how can the healthcare industry provide the same type of comfort and ease that consumers experience elsewhere? To start, health organizations can adopt mobile healthcare technologies that streamline workflows for patients (and providers). According to healthcare workflow expert Dr. Chuck Webster, “One of the great values and promises of workflow technology is to provide a user-friendly layer of workflow between humans and data.”Here are 4 ways to do that:
#1: Digitize Your Patient Forms
When patients enter a healthcare setting today, they are often still handed paper forms to complete or sign—which is not a great way to start their experience. Digitizing patient forms is an important step toward offering convenient healthcare. And the good news is it’s not that hard! With a HIPAA compliant online form builder like Formstack, you can create secure, mobile-friendly forms without any coding knowledge. You can even cut out some of the work by starting with a template! How will this delight patients? Here are 2 key ways:
- Digital forms can be linked on your website, allowing patients to access and fill them out ahead of appointments—which helps eliminate feelings of stress associated with the rush to complete them in a waiting room.
- Digital forms can decrease patient wait times and help with overall patient flow because they are easier to fill out, can be completed on patients’ own time, and can streamline your healthcare facility’s workflow process.
#2: Send Text Message Reminders
Mobile phones have been a game changer for communication over the last several years, substantially increasing the convenience and ease of getting in touch with each other. And this doesn’t stop with personal communication. Healthcare facilities can take advantage of this technology as well. With 95% of American adults now owning a mobile phone, there’s never been a better time to consider mobile text communication as a strategy for healthcare workflow management. Automated text messages can be sent to patients for appointment reminders and confirmations, as well as for prescription refill requests and pick-up reminders. This cuts down on administrative staff having to make a lot of phone calls, and it provides patients with the convenience they desire.
One note: It’s important for healthcare organizations to limit the information shared via text communications to ensure they remain HIPAA compliant.
#3: Allow for Digital Check-in
Giving patients a way to electronically sign in when they arrive at your facility provides convenience as well as privacy. Paper sign-in sheets expose patients’ names to the masses, but digital check-in forms or kiosks provide a layer of privacy and security. Additionally, a digital patient check-in process can help with healthcare workflow management. It can keep your patient queue organized and create more efficiency within your facility by freeing up time for your administrative staff. And a more streamlined workflow process means decreased wait times and happier patients.
#4: Streamline Patient-Provider Communication
Historically, communication between patients and care providers has taken place via phone conversations during normal business hours. But it's often not convenient for patients to contact providers during the work day. So how can you better cater to patient needs? Healthcare organizations can set up an online communication system that allows patients to send electronic messages any time of day. This can be as easy as placing a “Contact Us” form on your website that allows patients to submit a message for a specific provider and then automatically routes that message to the selected individual. Allowing patients to reach out with questions or concerns at whatever time works best empowers them to take control of their health.
Ready to put some of these tips into practice to delight your patients? Click here to read how one healthcare organization—Indiana Health Group—uses Formstack to do just that.