Five steps to creating a competitive care delivery model with healthcare automation

As healthcare enters a new era of patient expectation and care delivery—one driven by demand for digital offerings and ease of access—provider groups and health systems alike are facing a pivot point. They can no longer afford to operate under traditional models that rely on staff to serve as a scheduling hub, patient communication and engagement, office management, referral management, and care delivery.

Provider groups of all sizes can shift to a more competitive delivery model by following five key steps: 

Make patient access as unrestricted as possible 

An emerging trend in the adoption of healthcare automation technology is the transition from traditional scheduling methods—from a high-touch, human process to a click of a button. Before, staff would need to answer a phone call, check a calendar for open slots, consult their binder of hard-copy notes for the proper decision-making tree, and then try to find the patient a spot on the correct provider calendar. Intelligent scheduling solutions are digitizing this burdensome process, which results in expanded patient access, reduced scheduling errors, and optimized schedules. 

Treat patients like consumers 

Patient habits now mirror industry habits—searching, evaluating, and booking or buying services online without making a phone call—and so, healthcare technology should mirror other consumer technology. Online self-scheduling, options to schedule or reschedule an appointment through a provided link, ability to self-guide through treatment plans are all pieces of a larger puzzle that allows patients to own more of their care journey. While an intelligent scheduling solution is foundational for healthcare automation, the patient journey continues past the first click to schedule an appointment. 

Provide quality care that extends beyond the exam room 

Providing quality care in the exam room is, without rival, the most important part of a healthcare transaction. However, physicians spend a relatively small percentage of time face-to-face with a patient during what could be a weeks-, months-, or years-long wellness journey. 

Patient engagement is critical to both patient experience and health outcomes. Well-executed patient engagement also ensures a patient has a positive relationship with their provider—and by extension, the entire provider group—by establishing frequent, valuable communication that reminds, encourages, and prompts for further feedback. Patient engagement can take the form of:  

  • Appointment-related messaging 
  • Delivery of clinical results 
  • Educational materials and condition management messaging 
  • Feedback on their experience
  • Broadcast messages for new treatments or services 
  • Opportunity to ask further questions 
  • Personalize each patient’s care journey 

Balance administrative resources to remain flexible 

The opportunity to engage in two-way, HIPAA-secure communication is increasingly becoming a focal point for provider groups. It is part of a transition trajectory that moves from pure outbound communication to inbound communication with smart routing to the right resources, at the right time.  

For resources to remain flexible, it requires fast and easy bi-directional communication between provider group departments, between departments and providers, and between departments and patients. Automation technology replaces phone tag with a communication hub that determines which inbound questions can be answered by technology—such as directions or hours—and which needs to be routed somewhere specific—such as to a certain provider for a prescription refill. 

With staffing challenges predicted to last for the foreseeable future, providers must start adopting technology to automate their processes, streamline operations, and offset administrative burden. 

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