Economic pressures are forcing many practices to look for efficiencies in their workflows. It’s important to perform this type of assessment on a regular basis in order to keep your practice as efficient as possible.
A recent article in Medical Economics recommended that practices start with a task list in order to identify inefficiencies and redundancies. We highly recommend that also.
Another good idea is simply to ask the staff in your office; some people have good ideas but just don’t speak up because they are reluctant to question the status quo. The staff that perform the tasks may have great suggestions for streamlining procedures—just make it clear that doing so doesn’t endanger their jobs.
There are also multiple ways that well-designed EHR software with an effective patient portal can help you streamline your practice workflow, and we’d like to share 5 of our favorites with you:
1. Improve communication between doctor and biller
Your EMR software should provide a way for the doctor to communicate questions or special circumstances to the biller in addition to transmitting the encounter ICDs and CPTs, so that billing can be optimized. HealthFusion’s MediTouch EHR provides a “Note to the biller” feature that facilitates this communication. As we’ve said, faster billing means faster payment; and eliminating questions and confusion will result in faster billing.
2. Streamline patient data gathering
Use patient portal software to have patients provide medical history, allergy information, and more before the appointment. This will insure better quality of data, and many patients now prefer the electronic method to paper forms. This will help you avoid:
- Delayed appointment start times
- Staff time spent entering data or scanning documents
- Errors in patient data
MediTouch’s 2014 Meaningful Use Stage 2 certified, integrated patient portal allows you to gather patient data quickly and easily with electronic forms. In addition patient clinical data such as allergies and medications that were entered by the patient on the portal can be easily imported into the EHR with just a couple of clicks.
3. Stop the printing!
Printing clinical summaries or medical records is a waste of time and money unless the patient specifically needs a printed copy. Avoid the typical front office “bottlenecks” by using a patient portal that automates data exchange with patients and reduces the amount of printing.
This will save the cost of staff time, paper, ink and printer resources, plus, it will guard against the loss of printed PHI.
4. Reduce phone calls to the office
Encourage patients to use your patient portal to request:
- Prescription refills
- Test results
- Answers to questions about a bill
- And other tasks that required phone calls in the past
This reduces staff time spent on the phone and can be more convenient for your patients. With good patient portal software, you have the capability to offer all of these convenient options to your patients. This saves your practice time and increases patient satisfaction.
5. Improve patient payment collection
Patient responsibility is becoming a larger percentage of your collections and it’s the hardest revenue to collect. You should be able to improve your collections percentage and speed payment by using a patient portal like MediTouch’s, which offers statement payment—you can send statements out via the patient portal, saving postage costs, and patients can pay right on the portal with a credit card, when it’s most convenient for them.
Want to learn more about improving workflow in your practice and how MediTouch can help you accomplish all of the ideas listed here? Download our free Guide to Improving Practice Workflow now.