Manual, inefficient workflows are a thing of the past in almost every industry, and healthcare is no exception. Automation in healthcare is nothing new: Technological advances have completely changed the game, enabling practices and providers to streamline time-consuming processes and improve their operations.
Although many are already taking advantage of technology to automate manual workflows, some are not quite there yet. The truth is, the degree to which you embrace technology to work more efficiently can make or break your practice, so the sooner you get on board, the better.
Let’s talk about some of the ways manual processes can hold a practice back, plus different ways yours can simplify workflows for ultimate efficiency.
How Manual Processes Hold Your Practice Back
Before we dive into the different ways to leverage automation technology, it’s important you understand the negative impact following manual processes can have on your healthcare practice. Manual workflows can hold your practice back for the following reasons.
Contributing to Physician Burnout
Physician burnout is a significant challenge in healthcare. According to Medscape’s 2021 Physician Burnout Report, 42 percent reported feeling burned out last year. What’s more, 58 percent cited having too many bureaucratic tasks as the reason for experiencing burnout.
Increasing Staff Workload and Stress
Physicians aren’t the only ones experiencing burnout. Manual, inefficient workflows also increase the administrative burden and overall workload for practice staff. Additionally, staff members are more likely to be stressed and burned out at work due to these inefficiencies.
Causing Errors and Inaccurate Records
Manual processes often introduce the need for redundant data entry and duplicate work, which are typically time-intensive and prone to error. This can lead to inaccurate patient data in your electronic health record (EHR) and even potential clinical errors.
Delivering a Poor Patient Experience
Patients can tell when a practice is disorganized and inefficient. Plus, healthcare consumers have specific expectations regarding a practice’s digital capabilities. Not using automation can lead to decreased satisfaction, loyalty, and retention if patients decide to switch providers.
5 Ways Automation Can Streamline Practice Workflows
Here are a few key examples of how using automation can help streamline your healthcare practice’s workflows.
Patient Portal Access
Today, more than 90 percent of healthcare organizations offer access to a patient portal, which serves as a digital hub for engagement. Portal access empowers consumers to take a more active role in their own care, offering an easy way to review medical records and lab results, pay bills, message providers, and more—all at their own convenience, from a mobile app or web browser. This way, patients can use self-service tools to help themselves when possible, freeing your providers and staff up to spend more time focused on delivering top-quality care.
Appointment Scheduling and Reminders
Online appointment scheduling is the norm in healthcare today. Enabling patients to self-schedule appointments reduces the number of people who call your office and eases the workload for your staff, while also making scheduling more convenient. In addition to online appointment scheduling, many practices deploy automated reminders that are sent via text, email or phone call. This not only reduces patient no-shows and manual work, but also streamlines workflows and improves efficiency.
Digital Intake and Registration
Digitizing your patient intake and registration processes helps practices reduce waiting room backlogs and the need to manually enter data. Thanks to seamless system integrations, the appropriate forms are automatically forwarded to patients after they schedule an appointment. Once a form is completed, it’s directly imported into the EHR. This streamlined process ultimately saves your staff from having to scan each form and eliminates the need for redundant data entry.
Automated Surveys to Collect Feedback
Automating online surveys enables practices and providers to proactively reach out to patients between visits to collect feedback and reported outcomes. By doing so, you can gain a deeper understanding of each patient’s pain level, functional status, symptom severity, and more. When patients indicate they’re experiencing painful symptoms, automation triggers a call, text, or notification to alert practice staff.
Ongoing Patient Management Efforts
Automated population health technology helps practices easily differentiate between high-risk and low-risk patients. This allows providers to triage patients based on the likelihood of experiencing an adverse event, so they can focus on intensive interventions with the highest-risk individuals.
Equipped with the right technology, your healthcare organization can automate the manual workflows that slow your practice down and keep your business from growing. Download our free guide to learn more about using automation technology to simplify practice workflows.