The Low-Touch Economy: Leveraging Technology in Your Dermatology Practice
This article was originally published in the October & November 2020 issue of Executive Decisions in Dermatology, a publication of ADAM (Association of Dermatology Administrators and Managers).
If 2020 has taught us anything at all, it’s really brought to light the need to adapt swiftly and efficiently while minimizing the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 for staff and patients. The impact COVID-19 has had is truly unfathomable, but it has taught us valuable lessons, one of which is how technological tools can be leveraged to help multiple aspects of your dermatology practice. As all of us have had to change the way we live life, here are 10 tips to help recalibrate your dermatology practice.
1. Offer More Ways to Pay
Look for a payment processing system that integrates with your practice management software. As more financial responsibility and out-of-pocket costs are falling on patients, it’s important to provide multiple patient payment options that are convenient and as contactless as possible. Options for text-to-pay, contactless payments, online quick pay, automated payment plans and patient portal payments can all help expedite collections.
2. Transition to a Virtual Practice
Tools such as patient self-scheduling, a patient portal and telehealth can be used to help your practice operate efficiently and empower patients with virtual tools. It encourages patients to take charge of their healthcare while helping to reduce staff time spent on time-consuming tasks such as scheduling appointments or resending lab results.
3. Make the Move to Mobile
Mobile devices can help patients access care on-the-go through a mobile patient portal and even telehealth apps. It can help limit device sharing among practice staff as well. Plus, using an iPad-based EHR system can help both staff and patients feel more comfortable as they can more easily maintain social distancing in the exam room. Think of how the technology you use can help make patients and staff feel more at ease.
4. Get the Word Out
Utilizing tech tools such as patient reminders, on-demand messaging and personalized emails can help reduce the burden on your staff and keep patients informed of new office hours, services and protocols. Staying top of mind and marketing your practice is key to keeping current clients and attracting new ones.
5. Check-In With Your Patients
It’s important to take the pulse of your patient both literally and figuratively. How do your patients feel about the changes you’ve made at your practice? Sending out a patient survey can help you better understand what’s working and what needs improvement. You can help turn patients into advocates and use their feedback to improve upon office operations. Positive reviews can (with permission of your patients to use their feedback) also help in marketing your practice to new patients.
6. Connect Your Front and Back Office
Look for an all-in-one solution — one that offers integrated EHR and practice management systems. Having a single login and the ability to access all of your data in one place can help streamline intra-office communications, patient check-in and payment collection. Plus, if you need help on troubleshooting, you’ll be able to turn to one vendor that knows both its EHR and PM systems, instead of going to multiple contacts at multiple companies which can help save time and avoid unnecessary frustrations.
7. Make Data-Driven Decisions
Structured, meaningful data can be a powerful ally in changing times. Instead of wondering where you stand, with the help of an integrated analytics solution you can get a bird’s-eye view of your business and track KPIs and practice trends when it comes to the clinical, operational and financial facets of running your dermatology practice.
8. Give Your Practice an Added Boost
If you choose a vendor that provides revenue cycle management services, they can help address aspects of your business operations, from billing to payment collection to account reconciliation — so you can focus even more on your patients.
9. Opt for Software That’s Smart, Like You
Look for an EHR that comes preloaded with built-in dermatology-specific medical information and uses adaptive learning to automatically suggest the diagnoses, treatments and procedures you use most, based on your clinical documentation. Each medical specialty’s workflow is unique and your EHR should reflect that.
10. Make Sure Your Specialty-Specific Software is up to the Task
All-in-one software brings the clinical, operational and financial aspects of your business together seamlessly. Plus, as noted earlier, having one unified system versus disparate ones can help streamline and bring added efficiencies to your practice.
If there’s one seed of wisdom you walk away with from reading this article, it’s to understand that technology should be your friend, and it can have a tremendously positive impact on your practice, healthcare providers and patients. Technology can bring an elevated level of convenience and tech adoption. COVID-19 has certainly caused us to reevaluate the status quo and perhaps some of these changes will be for the better!
Vice President of Product Management