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

Flu Season is Here – Encourage Patients to Get Their Flu Shots!

Posted by Tara Gibson on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

Hack. Cough. Sniff. If you’re a healthcare professional, you’re probably noticing this background noise while at work as well as when you're out and about.

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As you know, fall and winter are peak seasons for flu in the U.S., with the viral illness usually making its unwanted debut at the end of October. According to the CDC, flu season spikes in February and gradually subsides in March.

Each year, an average 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and some 200,000 Americans are hospitalized at an average combined cost of more than $10 billion.  

Of course, the best way to protect yourself and your patients is to promote the administration of flu shots by the end of October — or as soon as possible before flu season really ramps up.

“But better late than never,” advises Dr. Honore Lansen of One Medical on Popsugar.com. “If December rolls around and you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, don't hesitate. The flu shot is available throughout flu season, and isn't any less effective in later months."

Medical practices can encourage patients to get their flu shot in many ways – in person, on social media, and including information in their appointment reminders.

Here are a few facts about flu season and the flu shot to share with your patients:

  • The flu can initially mimic a cold, but the flu tends to come on suddenly, include a fever, and can last 2-3 weeks.
  • The flu is not alleviated by antibiotics.
  • The flu shot is recommended for everyone older than 6 months, with only a few exceptions.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot, since it’s not a live vaccine.
  • Getting the flu shot can protect you from spreading it to more vulnerable loved ones.
  • Frequent, thorough hand-washing is also important to help prevent flu.

One fast, efficient and effective way to issue appointment reminders is with Alert Solutions – our appointment reminder system can automatically remind patients using their preferred communication method – voice, text or email.

Studies have shown providing patients with the option to choose how they want to receive messages can increase message deliverability.

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Topics: health, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

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

Using Social Media to Boost Patient Engagement at Your Medical Practice

Posted by Nina Caliri on Mon, Jun 25, 2018 @ 09:06 AM

If your medical practice has yet to employ social media to engage with patients, you may be missing out on an easy and inexpensive communications tool.

While creating content and scheduling regular posts for social media can take planning, the payoff can be worthwhile. Used effectively, social media communications can boost patient engagement, help gain their trust, and improve overall patient retention while also optimizing exposure for your medical practice.

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“Social media holds a lot of promise in developing a sense of community,” notes Sara Heath on PatientEngagementHit.com. “By connecting patients with other patients at the same care facility or receiving guidance toward the same health goals, social media can help build a network of people supporting each other toward better health.”  

Chances are your patients are already using social media to find healthcare information; in U.S. research last year, 91 percent of internet users said online communities play a role in their health decisions and 87 percent share health information via Facebook post. And those who represent your future trade, younger patients from 18 to 29, are even more apt to rely on social media.

That’s why it behooves your medical practice to develop its own social media presences to share information, offer health reminders, and motivate individuals to take care of their own health – all while fostering good patient engagment.

A few guidelines to consider as you get started:

  • Use social media as part of a comprehensive patient communications strategy that also delivers texts, calls and emails. An efficient patient notification system from Alert Solutions can take care of that by seamlessly incorporating a patient communication solution into your existing practice management software.
  • When posting, try answering common health questions in general terms. Address follow-up queries by answering them outright, referring the questioner to another info source or directing him to a private patient portal.
  • Consider asking physicians to tweet, blog, record videos and participate in disease-specific online discussion forums – these social media posts can provide valuable opportunities to share health information and promote patient engagement.
  • To avoid liability issues, double-check outgoing social media posts to ensure unsupported advice isn’t offered and patient-specific information isn’t shared. Common examples of HIPAA violations committed through social media have included gossip about patients without naming the patients, the sharing of patient photos without written consent, and the accidental sharing of private info through seemingly innocuous photos.

Talk to Alert Solutions for more ideas about optimizing your patient communication strategy today!

patient communication

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing, patient engagement

How Online Business Reviews Can Boost Your Medical Practice

Posted by Tara Gibson on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 15:04 PM

Now that online forums are so prolific, many patients are using them frequently to review others’ opinions about a given medical practice before spending their hard-earned money.

“We live in a world where your online reputation can be your strongest asset or your biggest liability,” writes Ryan Erskine in Forbes. “Employers, clients, colleges and customers are increasingly using Google as their sidekick before making important decisions.”

Online Reviews

Erskine points to statistics showing 90 percent of consumers read online business reviews before visiting a business and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while online business reviews have been shown to impact nearly 68 percent of purchasing decisions. Another study shows nearly 80 percent of Americans rely on online reviews and physician ratings before choosing a new medical practice.

Of course, honest online reviews can work for or against medical practices. But if you have good patient engagement and you’ve had largely positive responses from your patients, you may be able to attract new business by asking them to confirm their good experiences on your website and/or third-party review sites.  

Here are a few other tips for accumulating positive online business reviews:

  • Do everything you can to ensure patients have a positive experience with your practice, ensuring your front office staff is kind and polite and your facilities are top-notch. Frequent and detailed patient communication can go a long way toward better patient engagement and patient retention.
    • Bonus Tip: Consider implementing an automated patient communication system like Alert Solutions to make that process more efficient.
  • Make your business review process quick and easy. Patients are more likely to make the effort if sharing their thoughts is nearly effortless.
  • Remind patients to leave a review by emailing them links to your site; include links to your social media sites, too.
  • When receiving positive reviews on your social media sites, be sure to share them.
  • List your medical practice on third-party business review sites to give reviewers more options.
  • Use reviews strategically in your medical practice newsletters, wellness reminders and emails.

In general, most medical practices believe the advantages of positive business reviews are worth the downside: the risk of some patients reporting dissatisfaction.

“While publishing reviews might feel like opening a can of worms, benefits outweigh any potential issues,” notes Alex Mangrolia on PhysiciansPractice.com. “There is no reference better than satisfied patients to recite your success stories.”

patient communication

Topics: Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

What’s Driving Healthcare Technology? The Answer is Patient Engagement.

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Mar 06, 2018 @ 13:03 PM

As the healthcare industry struggles to simultaneously optimize workflows, contain costs and improve patient outcomes in an increasingly digital world, patient engagement has become the buzzword of the day.

Many efforts are apparently gaining ground. In one recent survey by CDW Healthcare, 57 percent of U.S. patients and 58 percent of U.S. healthcare providers reported improving their doctor-patient engagement over the past two years.

“The healthcare industry is finally catching up with the rest of the business world and recognizing that to grow and be successful in a competitive marketplace, patients need more in the way of information, quality, access and accountability,” writes Christine Queally Foisey in Medical Practice Insider.

A few patient engagement trends among U.S. healthcare providers:patientengagementtips.png

Better Online Patient Communication
Because 80 percent of Internet users seek health info online, and one in every 20 Google searches is for health-related info (according to CDW), healthcare providers are beefing up their websites and social media pages to offer more patient resources. “The Internet allows us to get what we want at our fingertips,” adds Foisey. “Patients and consumers have started placing these same expectations on healthcare.”

More Efficient Patient Notification Solutions
Healthcare providers are continually seeking new digital tools that optimize email, voice and/or SMS text messaging to improve the clarity and speed of their communications with patients. Patient notification tools are known to boost patient engagement, patient retention and practice revenue. 

Greater Emphasis on Patient Self-Care
Wearable monitors, machine learning, Skype, electronic health records and other technological innovations are increasingly allowing patients to track and manage their own healthcare from home with oversight from medical professionals.

Better Cost Control
While healthcare costs remain unmanageably high for many patients, the industry is moving in the direction of cost reduction through machine learning tools that can manage member/patient profiles, file claims, sort medical records, recommend treatments, increase adherence to treatments, identify drug abuse, find fraudulent claims and other functions that normally require human labor.

The movement toward patient engagement is expected to result in even greater efficiencies in the future.

Alert Solutions products improve efficiency for healthcare providers by automatically contacting patients about appointments, therapies, test dates, unpaid medical bills, etc.

Ask us how we can help improve patient engagement at your medical practice! 

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Topics: Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

3 Ways Technology is Vital to Patient Engagement

Posted by Sarah Autore on Wed, Jan 10, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

The endeavor to achieve good patient engagement is critical to every medical practice. While patient engagement gained traction as an emerging movement many years ago, there are still many challenges medical practices face in trying to achieve it.

What has helped tremendously for many is the use and evolution of technology – tools like automated patient communication solutions, online patient portals, and even social media have all created a culture of more engaged doctor/patient relationships than ever before.

To really understand the tremendous effect, take a look at these 3 significant ways technology has become vital to improving patient engagement:

Technology Reduces Time and Costs
Because of technology, paperwork is reduced, patient information is more accurate, and scheduling is more efficient. Through electronic medical records, online payment options, and automated patient notifications, staff is now freed up to focus more on what really matters – patient engagement and fostering a positive patient experience.

Technology Creates More Informed Patients 
patientpreferences.pngPatients who are engaged in their health are more likely to have better health outcomes. Technology has created more opportunities and resources for patients to utilize in order to become more informed. In fact, 1 in every 20 Google searches is for health-related information. While medical practices should strive to be the number one patient resource for accurate health information, they should still encourage behavior that demonstrates levels of patient engagement through use of online tools.

Technology Increases Patient Satisfaction
The combination of patients being more informed and having more resources at their disposal results in higher levels of patient satisfaction. Technology has helped to instill a larger sense of confidence in patients when it comes to their health. Factors like being able to research health information before and after their visits, easily communicating with their doctors via patient portals, and receiving automated patient notifications through their preferred communication methods are all technological advances that contribute to better patient communication and higher levels of patient satisfaction.

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.

patient communication

 

Topics: automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention, 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.

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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

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