Shaping What’s Possible: How Automation Helps Conquer Today’s Healthcare Challenges

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The Great Resignation and current labor issues are impacting dental practices, presenting significant near- and long-term implications. While we still face uncertainty, patients need care and rely on practices to remain open. Positively, practices that embrace digital technology benefit from spending less time, money, and effort on administrative functions so they can focus on delivering patient care. Software solutions offer a helping hand to organizations seeking much-needed relief.

While some may think that technology replaces human contribution, it actually encourages empathetic care by liberating staff from time-consuming tasks and manual processes. From digital registration to contactless payments, automating administrative tasks improves process and workflow making the everyday a little easier at the practice.

With more responsibility and less resources, how can understaffed and overburdened teams manage their workloads at healthcare practices and organizations? The answer lies in automation.

1. Patients

More compassion, less contact.

Offering touchless technology permits practices to extend safe and convenient ways for patients to schedule payments and pay for services, allowing staff and providers to deliver care – even if the visit is virtual.

Increasingly, stretched-thin administrative staff are doing their best to persevere under pressure. While constant uncertainty leads to feelings of exhaustion, patients still seek routine care on top of necessary – and even elective – treatments. In spite of this, healthcare professionals must find ways to deliver elevated levels of care and compassion while reducing some of the face to face and physical interactions that once seemed irreplaceable in healthcare.

The good news is that using digital functionality to manage activities along the patient journey doesn’t have to feel cold or impersonal. Today, touchless technology achieves a critical purpose without sacrificing much in the way of human interaction – offering safe, secure, and convenient methods to connect with others.

For healthcare organizations, contactless capabilities create a communication bridge between practices and patients. Digital registration, text messages, QR codes, and contactless payments drastically decrease physical interaction between administrative staff and patients, as well as risk tied to high-touch equipment, such as the old pen-and-clipboard method. The “new normal” of frictionless, digital communication and payment affords more time, security, and safety to comfortably connect without compromising care.

2. Profitability

More revenue, less expense.

Automation provides an immediate return on investment in terms of minimized paper statements, improved patient retention, and increased payment collection thanks to more modernized practice management functionality.

Overhead costs, mandatory PPE, supply-chain issues, wage increases, and rising inflation all drive expenses up at healthcare organizations. Historically, the struggle for some practices to realize positive cash flow could typically be attributed to the confusion around what patients would owe out of pocket, how to effectively reach them to resolve outstanding balances, and not providing convenient payment options for patients.

Tech-savvy practices that have adopted software solutions that allow patients to pay and engage online are improving patient payment collection rates and seeing a reduction of days in accounts receivable. Giving patients the convenience of contactless payment options and allowing them to pay for care when and how they want accelerates the revenue cycle.

For example, practices may allow patients to submit a co-pay online before their visit or opt to send an immediate text to a patient to recoup a balance due versus waiting for a paper statement to be processed.

3. Process

More focus, less distraction.

Consolidating patient data, securing sensitive information, and reducing manual errors eases administrative effort to allow staff to focus on patient care.

Disconnected data and software plague healthcare practices and organizations today. As administrators attempt to navigate disjointed systems, the lack of cohesiveness creates bottlenecks, redundancy, and poor visibility into practice operations, and may even detract from the amount of time that staff can dedicate to patient care. It’s commonplace for practices to juggle multiple systems – from electronic health records to scheduling software to patient communication portals. To protect patient information and maximize office efficiency, streamlining solutions into one secure healthcare technology ecosystem is paramount.

Ideally, practices seek technology solutions that will interface seamlessly with their existing practice management software, and not create extra workflows. Processes as simple as automatically posting payments to the patient ledger and integrating digital registration forms can make a world of difference when it comes to staff efficiency.

One of the most surprising benefits of technology improvements is how it boosts employee morale and encourages staff-wide teamwork. With the stress of repetitive tasks reduced and complex processes easier to manage, teams are more likely to collaborate and enjoy the workplace environment. An enthusiastic office staff is more prone to be more productive and deliver a stronger patient experience.

4. Productivity

More bandwidth, less burnout.

Automating activities from tedious tasks to complex workflows gives administrative staff a much-needed reprieve.

The pressure on healthcare providers and their workers is unrelenting. Reports show that employees within the industry continue to be displaced, switch to different employers, and even leave the industry entirely. Automation-oriented features found in healthcare technology platforms can relieve some of the stressors that have resulted in unprecedented labor shortages in healthcare.

Using technology to replace activities such as manual patient communications and registration, scheduling, and billing frees staff from cumbersome administrative work that consumes their time and challenges their limited resources. Perhaps the biggest technology boon for healthcare practices is obtaining a Card on File, which allows patients to securely store their payment information.

Card On File frees up the office staff so they no longer need to ask repeatedly for patient and can take comfort that the Card on File makes payment transactions possible before, during, and after care, with no hassle at all.

Digital functionality opens possibilities for both the practice and patients. Patients can fill out forms online, receive text-based communications, and pay through their handheld devices. The practice website can serve as a conduit for electronic communications, as well as online payments, letting patients connect with the office even outside of regular office hours. Putting digital technology and electronic communications to work for the practice gives back valuable time to the staff, so they can better attend to patient – and provider – needs.

Automation makes it possible.

Current labor shortages facing the healthcare industry accelerate the need for automation to support practices and organizations facing productivity challenges. Those that choose to tap into technology have a greater ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Implementing a successful digital transformation is within reach. Unification of patient data, service providers, and healthcare solutions into a continuous, consistent ecosystem makes long-term sense and should be approached strategically. Healthcare practices and organizations that seek a technology partner for guidance will find they can count on digital solutions and automated processes to enhance operations. A technology partner can enable practice staff to deliver a high level of quality care during challenging times.

 

To learn more about Rectangle Health’s healthcare
payment solutions and how we’re helping top dental
practices and DSOs capture more patient payments,
increase efficiency, enhance the patient experience,
visit our website or contact: Brian Doyle,
VP of Enterprise Solutions at 331-625-0648
or
[email protected].


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