How health IT can ease staffing shortages

Digitizing the patient experience to make it as convenient as online shopping or travel booking can help alleviate the labor shortages that have plagued healthcare, David Peterson, chief strategy officer for health IT consultant AccuReg, wrote March 23 in Medical Economics.

Moving more of the patient registration and check-in process online can reduce the need for patient access workers, who have been in short supply during the pandemic, and increase the productivity of existing staff, Mr. Peterson says. His recommendations include:

  • Allowing patients to self-register online, by uploading ID and insurance cards using their smartphone camera and digitally completing and signing forms
  • Letting people access out-of-pocket cost estimates online
  • Communicating preappointment information like fasting reminders and driving directions digitally, and sending appointment details to the patient’s digital calendar
  • Having patients note their arrival at appointments through text and sending them QR codes to check in faster.

“Patients want access to digital engagement solutions that create a safer and more customer-friendly experience, whereas providers must be nimble to adapt to labor and staffing challenges and reduce costs,” Mr. Peterson writes. “Thankfully, it’s never been easier to deliver singular solutions that address both.”

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