Alert Solutions Blog

5 Top Healthcare Technology Innovations for 2019

Posted by Tara Gibson on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 @ 10:01 AM

2019 is bringing new technology trends to many industries, but healthcare may be the most intriguing of them all. Healthcare technology is forever changing, making it tricky for medical practices to stay on top of new tools and trends.

With healthcare technology, it’s now possible to talk to a doctor without leaving your home. There’s no telling what developments we’ll see for medical practices in the near future. Is there a healthcare technology revolution on the horizon?  Well, innovations designed to enhance healing and transform healthcare are already here, according to distinguished doctors and researchers.

Our Favorite 5 Healthcare Technology Innovations

  1. TelehealthTelehealth
    Telehealth is starting to become a staple in the healthcare technology market. According to Healthcare Global, “Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favoring digitally-led services.” The ease of connecting with healthcare professionals online is not only easier, but also less expensive. “Reimbursement initiatives underway in both arenas (telemedicine & remote monitoring devices) are likely to increase the use of the technologies.” Health Data management states, “…more savvy patients will want the same utility for healthcare that they experience everywhere else in life – getting what they want and need, when they want it.”

  2. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
    According to the Cleveland Clinic, “AI is changing the game with its applications in decision support, image analysis, and patient triage.” Forbes expects AI for the Healthcare Application market will cross $1.7 billion by the end of 2019, and anticipates that by operationalizing AI platforms across healthcare workflows would result in 10-15% productivity gain over the next 2-3 years. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.

  3. Health Wearables
    Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, making health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity, and sleep more attractive to those suffering from these health conditions. Healthcare Global says after partnering with Google, “health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.”

  4. Using IT For Patient Engagement & Experience
    Patient engagement is a huge factor in healthcare, as it has many positive outcomes. Keeping a patient engaged in their health not only encourages them to make their frequent appointments but also forces a patient to be accountable. “Patient experience management encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses and staff in hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare facilities.” HealthData Management states, “Healthcare organizations will invest in care delivery models to meet patients where they are—say through portals, medical apps and remote patient monitoring.”

  5. Electronic Health Records & Appointment Reminders
    Electronic Health Records and appointment reminders are simpler healthcare technologies in comparison to the above, yet they are extremely effective for medical practices across the country. It’s very important for a healthcare facility to have a great EHR System to manage patient information as well as an easy way to communicate with those patients about upcoming appointments. Alert Solutions helps medical providers improve efficiency by automating appointment reminders, ultimately reducing clerical busy work for doctors and minimizing patient no-show rates.

With healthcare technology continuing the push the envelope, medical practices and healthcare institutions should be reviewing these tools and trends often to improve efficiency and optimize patient health outcomes.

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Topics: health, appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement, healthcare

Pediatricians’ Busiest Month - 4 Ways to Reduce No-Shows This August

Posted by Philip Young on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 @ 11:08 AM

The back-to-school season is not limited to just shopping for school supplies. It is also a time when droves of school-age patients head to their pediatrician’s medical office for annual exams, sports physicals and vaccinations.

Last-minute cancellations and no-shows can cause major problems for any medical practice and lead to inefficient scheduling and financial loss.

Here are 4 tips to reduce patient no-shows during a pediatricians’ busiest month:

  1. Automate Appointment Reminders
    dreamstime_m_118826393
    Many times patients miss appointments because they simply forgot. Having someone on staff to place appointment reminder calls isn’t always possible, and these days, isn’t always the best way to reach patients. Many people now respond better to text messages or automated voice notifications. A Medical Group Management Association poll found that “many practices indicate that texting reduces no-shows and staff time spent confirming appointments, which improves efficiency and productivity.” Automated appointment reminders can increase practice revenue and reduce patient no-shows.
  1. Fill Last-Minute Openings
    Keep a list of patients who want to be seen as soon as possible. If there is a last-minute cancellation, go down this list of stand-by patients and offer them the recently opened spot. This will increase goodwill among those patients hoping to be seen and ensure that appointment spots are being filled whenever possible, making the best use of everyone’s time.
  1. Make Appointment No-Show Policies Clear
    Advertising cancellation policies such as no-show fees will encourage proper notice when appointments need to be rescheduled. Patients will choose to reschedule appointments that have potential conflicts instead of risking a missed appointment that results in a fee.
  1. Connect with New Patients
    When there are nationwide calls for things like back-to-school vaccinations, medical practices can see an increase in new patients. Build a connection with these new patients and gather information like their preferred contact method for automated appointment reminders in order to reduce missed appointments.

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

No-Go On Patient No-Shows: 8 Ways Your Medical Practice Can Reduce Missed Appointments

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Feb 08, 2018 @ 07:02 AM

When you’re trying to run a medical practice efficiently and effectively, missed appointments can be a major drain on revenues, workflow and staff morale.

Whether patients forgo their exams because of scheduling conflicts, transportation challenges, finance issues, anxiety, illness, improved health or just forgetfulness, the problem costs the U.S. healthcare system more than $150 billion annually, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Each open, unused time slot costs a physician 60 minutes and $200 on average,” advises Jamie Gier on news site Healthmgttech.com. “Factor in that no-show rates are as high as 30 percent nationwide, and you can see how that $150 billion figure is reached.”

In truth, healthcare providers that don’t take steps to address chronic issues like missed appointments must accept a share of the blame. But possible solutions are many. Consider the following:

1. Automated Appointment Reminders: The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports the most effective remedy to date has been appointment reminder messages sent directly to patients. Fortunately, digital tools can automatically convey reminders by phone, text and/or email to make that process ridiculously easy, especially when contact information is comprehensive and up to date. One report shows Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest HMO, logged 1,873 fewer patient no-shows by sending such phone and text appointment reminders, saving some $275,000.

2. Pre-Paid Fees: Requiring pre-payment during scheduling can take patients aback, but it undeniably encourages them to show up.patientwaitingroom-resized-600.jpg

3. New Patient Orientation: Because newcomers tend to skip appointments more often, explaining the importance of keeping their appointments (perhaps even having them sign a “contract”) may help. Note: NCBI studies show patient no-shows also tend to be younger, of lower socioeconomic status, subject to “psychosocial problems” and covered by government-provided health benefits.

4. Minimizing Lapses: Patient no-shows increase when more time lags between scheduling and appointments, reports the NCBI. Could you improve your medical practice's policies to prevent long waits?

5. Overbooking: Scheduling two appointments per time slot can optimize staff time but may well lead to frustration among waiting patients, increasing the likelihood they’ll be future patient no-shows. 

6. Optimizing Waiting Lists: Sometimes medical practices fill last-minute openings by keeping lists of patients who have the flexibility to fill appointment slots with minimal notice.

7. Keeping Track: Internally, post daily reports of your patient no-show percentage rates to incentivize staffers to work on them together. You may also wish to bar repeat no-show patients from further appointments.

8. Modeling Integrity: Respect your patients’ time by avoiding cancelling appointments on your end.

Finally, medical practices can reduce the likelihood of patients consciously or subconsciously avoiding them by ensuring each experience is as positive as possible.

“One of the major reasons for no-shows is that the patient’s expectations weren’t met on the last visit,” advises Paul Potter on EvidenceinMotion.com. “Wanting to avoid conflict by discussing the situation, they simply don’t show for the next appointment. (But) by really getting to know them, you can pick up on preferences and simple things that add value for each patient.”

Talk to Alert Solutions about customizing an automated appointment reminder system that can significantly impact your medical practice's patient no-show rate.

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient engagement

3 Tips to Increase Patient Engagement During the Holiday Season

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Dec 07, 2017 @ 11:12 AM

The holiday season is often the busiest time of year for most families. With so much focus on holiday planning and events, the last thing on your patients’ minds is communicating with their doctor’s office.

During such a hectic period, it’s even more likely that your medical practice will experience higher patient no-show rates and revenue loss. But, there are steps your medical practice can take to increase patient engagement during the holiday season.

We’ve compiled 3 patient engagement tips to break through the holiday clutter:

1. Focus on Patient Communication with Automated Appointment Reminders
Did you know that sending automated appointment reminders to your patients can reduce missed appointments by up to 40%? Not only that, but sending automated appointment reminders through patient-preferred  communication methods (text, voice or email) makes them 5 times more likely to show up for their scheduled appointment. With their minds elsewhere during the holidays, automated appointment reminders not only get patients in the door, but can also improve patient satisfaction by going the extra mile to ensure your patients get the care they need. 

2. Use Flexible Scheduling to Increase Patient Satisfaction HolidaySteth-756901-edited.jpg
To increase patient engagement, demonstrate to your patients that you understand how challenging this time of year can be. The request for reschedules is likely higher during this season, so plan ahead at your medical practice to be as accommodating as possible. Consider keeping gaps within your daily schedule to fit last minute changes, or implement a
patient ‘stand-by’ list for those looking to reschedule as soon as possible. Especially around the holidays, a little accomodation goes a long way to increase patient engagement, improve patient satisfaction, and optimize patient retention

3. Leverage Social Media to Improve Patient Engagement
If your medical practice already has a social media presence, the holiday season is a great time to increase social media use to build up patient engagement. If your medical practice has not yet implemented social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, it’s a great time to start! The holidays provide plenty of social media content opportunities – consider sharing office holiday photos, tips for staying healthy during the holiday season, or even running a holiday patient raffle. Regular use of social media will keep you top of mind with patients year-round!

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, patient engagement

Implementing Patient Engagement Tools at Your Medical Practice – 3 Things to Consider

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Nov 02, 2017 @ 11:11 AM

Patients are beginning to rely on more modern patient communication tools to become better engaged in their healthcare. Medical practices face the challenge of implementing patient communication tools that will increase patient engagement, streamline operations, and be cost effective all at the same time.

patientengagement.jpg

Deciding to implement patient engagement technology is an easy choice – studies show these tools increase patient satisfaction, patient retention, and practice revenue. The more challenging decision then is to determine which patient engagement solution is right for your medical practice.

If you are looking to implement a patient engagement tool at your medical practice, consider the following tips:

1. Patient Communication Styles are Important
Patient communication is much more effective when it allows you to reach patients through their preferred communication channel. Accommodating your patients’ communication preferences will ultimately increase their level of patient satisfaction with your medical practice. You’ll want to consider patient engagement tools with access to voice, email, and SMS text message capabilities.

2. Automation Helps Your Patient and Your Medical Practice
When a patient receives an automated appointment reminder, they are 40% more likely to show up for their appointment. This ensures your patient is receiving the care they need, while simultaneously increasing revenue for your medical practice. Not only that, but implementing automated appointment reminders also saves hours of precious staff time – freeing them up to truly focus on better patient care. When deciding on a patient engagement tool, make sure automation is at the top of your list.

3. Personalized Patient Communication Goes a Long Way
Thanks to rapid technological advances over the last few years, people have become accustomed to personalized communications from everyone – including their medical provider. A patient engagement tool that gives you the ability to merge specific patient details into your patient communications can be extremely effective in increasing patient satisfaction and overall trust. Though these details may seem small, they have the ability to forge a more impactful and personal connection with your patients.

We can help! Alert Solutions helps medical practices automate important patient communications through multiple channels including email, voice, and text. Download Our Brochure to Learn More.

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, patient engagement

Improving Patient Retention at Your Medical Practice - 3 Ways the Front Office Staff Can Help

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 @ 15:10 PM

You’ve heard it a million times – patient satisfaction is the key to a successful medical practice. Your levels of patient satisfaction are a key indicator of patient retention – without which, your medical practice will suffer.

It’s vital for medical practices today to place importance on maintaining patient retention, as obtaining new patients costs five times as much. In an environment where an increasing number of medical practices are looking to do more and spend less, it’s also important to consider patient retention methods that are cost effective.

You might not need to look much further than your front office staff to achieve this. That’s because studies show high quality patient care is not the only driver of patient retention. In fact, front office staff has been shown to play a crucial role in turning new patients into return patients.

3 important patient retention factors your front office staff is responsible for:

1. First (and Last) Impressions
Your patients expect a positive experience from the moment they step foot in your medical practice. However, the most important impression is probably the last one. Patients often come out of the exam room with questions, concerns, and the need for follow up. Encourage your front office staff to address them happily and efficiently in order to leave your patient with a good lasting impression.

2. Effective Patient Communication
Many medical practices struggle with finding time to implement effective patient
 medical reception.jpgcommunication strategies, but good patient communication is proven to increase patient satisfaction. While digital patient communication tools are vastly on the rise, one of the most effective patient communication methods is still face-to-face interaction. Your front office staff is crucial to forging an impactful personal connection with your patients.

3. Adequate Patient Follow-Up
Patient experience does not end when the patient leaves your medical practice. Automated patient communication solutions enable your front office staff to follow-up with patients in a timely manner and ensure their needs are met until their next appointment. Bonus: Automating follow-up processes like appointment reminders and lab result notifications have also been proven to free up front office staff time – giving them more opportunity to focus directly on the patient.  

We can help! Alert Solutions helps medical practices send important patient communications through email, voice, and text. To learn more about improving patient retention through effective patient communication, download our brochure today!

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, patient engagement

Improve Patient Engagement at Your Medical Practice with the Help of Social Media

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

Patients who are more engaged in their health tend to have higher patient satisfaction rates and experience better health outcomes. But finding the time and resources to implement patient engagement strategies can be a challenge for busy medical practices.

Many healthcare providers are now turning to social media as an effective and budget-friendly way to increase patient engagement. Consider these 3 ways social media can improve patient engagement at your medical practice.

1. Improve Patient Engagement by Sharing Resources
socialmedia.jpgGood patient engagement continues outside of the exam room. Reaching patients in their everyday lives, instead of just during office visits, increases their levels of patient engagement and patient satisfaction. Over 70% of patients turn to the internet for health information, but don’t always find reliable sources. Social media platforms allow you to become a reliable source, all while building credibility for your practice and educating patients about their health.

2. Improve Patient Engagement by Building Patient Trust
Most patients visit their healthcare provider only several times per year. Consistent social media updates can keep your medical practice top of mind and achieve a new level of trust and patient satisfaction year round. In addition to sharing health-related information, also consider sharing practice updates. Providing a regular look inside your medical practice will create more engaged patients focused on getting more out of their healthcare.

3. Improve Patient Engagement by Increasing Patient Communication
Social media can also serve as an effective patient retention tool. While patient communication solutions are the most effective way to keep patients coming back, your medical practice will also benefit from the ability to quickly share a social post reminding patients about seasonal services. For example, consider sharing a reminder that flu season has begun and you are available for vaccinations.

Did you know? Alert Solutions provides many patient communication tools for medical practices through multiple automated channels including email, voice, and text. Learn more.

patient communication

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, social media marketing, patient retention, patient engagement

Think Your Medical Practice Doesn't Need to Go Digital? Think Again.

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 @ 12:08 PM

As patients rely more and more on technology throughout their daily lives, medical practices face the challenge of implementing digital patient communication tools and patient engagement techniques to keep up.

It’s become a common misconception that older generations of patients don’t favor digital communication. However, a recent survey showed that 53% of older patients did utilize the digital patient communication tools provided by their doctor.  This same study showed that over 70% of patients are comfortable with communicating online, through SMS text message, and through mobile apps.

With the use of digital patient communication tools increasing among all age groups, consider the following 3 benefits of going digital at your medical practice.

1. Increase Patient Engagementdigitalhealth.jpg
Through greater access to online patient portals and personal healthcare records, 70 percent of patients say they have become more engaged with their healthcare over the last two years. Increased patient engagement has many benefits including increased patient satisfaction, better patient outcomes, and increased patient retention.

2. Align with Patient Communication Preferences
The importance of patient communication preferences should never be overlooked. It not only impacts your ability to communicate with patients, but also the effectiveness of your communication with them. You’re much more likely to accommodate all patient communication preferences with a multi-channel patient communication solution.

3. Save Time with Automation
Automation will make life easier for both your staff and your patients. For example, implementing automated patient notifications has shown to decrease patient no-shows by 40%. In addition, automating follow-up processes can  increase revenue and free up precious staff time – making it an extremely effective tool for your medical practice.

We can help! Alert Solutions helps medical practices automate important patient communications through multiple channels including email, voice, and text. Click here to learn more.

 

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, patient engagement

Achieving Patient Engagement with the Young Adult Demographic

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

By now, medical practices are well aware that increased patient engagement leads to better patient satisfaction and patient outcomes. To best engage all patients, not to mention attract new ones, medical practices must not assume all patients are alike. One patient demographic often less considered is that of young adults, those aged 18 - 34.

Research has shown that common doctor-patient engagement models don’t resonate the same with this younger audience. If your medical practice is looking to improve patient engagement with your young adult demographic, consider these 4 strategies to reach them more effectively.

1. Connect on Social Mediayoungadults.jpg
It’s no surprise that this younger population uses
social media more than any other. According to a recent survey, over 90% of millennials trust health information on social media. With the average person spending over 2 hours a day (and growing) on social platforms, it’s a good place to share quick and relevant information and build a sense of trust with younger patients.

2. Offer Online Appointment Scheduling
Young adults tend to be more comfortable using technology than older age groups. In fact, they prefer it. Several studies have also determined that the use of digital tools makes younger patients much more engaged in their overall health.

3. Send Appointment Reminders via SMS Text Messaging
Automated SMS text message appointment reminders are great for increasing patient engagement with all demographics, especially young adults. The average young adult sends close to 100 text messages a day, which means this is an area your medical practice can’t afford to miss out on.

4. Don’t Forget to Personalize
As a primarily digital population, young adults are accustomed to information that has been personalized through a lifetime of technological advances. Having a patient notification system that allows you to personalize patient communications by merging in specific patient information will go a long way with this age group.

While it may sound cliche, your young adult patients are quite literally your future. Making an effort to achieve good patient engagement with them now will ensure continued patient satisfaction as they age.

To learn how Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite can help you engage with your young adult patients, download our brochure here.

Alert Solutions' Suite of Patient Notification Systems

 

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient engagement

What Kind of Patient Communication Style is Best for Your Practice?

Posted by Sarah Autore on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

According to a recent patient survey, over 50% of patients report they received no follow-up communication from their physician after their appointment. In addition, nearly 40% of patients were unaware whether their doctor’s office had a patient portal available for use.

These statistics emphasize how important patient communication is – and what can happen when it’s unclear. Many medical practices struggle with finding time to implement effective patient communication strategies, but good patient communication is proven to improve patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction.

medical communication styles.jpg

If you’re looking to improve your patient communication strategy, a good place to begin is determining which patient communication style fits your practice best:

  1. In-Person Patient Communication
    You can’t get more personalized than an in-person dialogue. This patient communication style is dwindling with technological advances, and less than a quarter of patients report preferring this method. However, while technology serves many purposes of advancing patient care, it should never fully replace a healthy in-person dialogue between patient and provider about important health issues.

  2. Phone Patient Communication
    While digitally automated patient communication has increased significantly, 50% of patients still prefer speaking to their doctors office on the phone over any other method. Phone calls also make up the second most common follow-up method for doctor’s offices. Although it is no longer the most time friendly solution, it’s unlikely that this style of communication will ever disappear completely – especially for situations like discussing lab results or procedure details with patients.

  3. Digital Patient Communication
    You know by now that as technology continues to evolve, more and more patients are preferring digital communication methods to more traditional ones. Generally, the younger demographic of patients (aged 18-34) prefer scheduling follow-up appointments online.. Automating follow-up processes have also proven to have many benefits to your office as well – such as freeing up precious staff time and reducing patient no-shows.

To meet patient needs, the best medical practices are the ones who are flexible and equipped in adapting to all 3 of these patient communication styles. Alert Solutions can help your practice automate patient communications through voice, email, and text.  Learn more about our Suite of Patient Communication Solutions here.

 

Topics: appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction

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