Great Patient Access is Vital to Dealing with COVID-19
Why does having great patient access matter? There are dozens of answers, but they are nice to have. Great patient access means better patient experience, lower hospital readmission rates, more efficient processes, and higher revenue. However, these are not life or death reasons for having great patient access. Think about why the government mandated the use of electronic medical records. The most persuasive arguments were about public health. The number of deaths from paper charts being isolated, poorly written prescriptions, etc. While there were dozens of reasons to go electronic, those were the main reasons. It’s not just clinical innovation that is needed to tackle COVID-19 or Coronavirus but administrative innovation. Right now, patient access is having its “EMR” moment. It’s moving from a nice to have to a need to have.
Great Patient Access is a Public Health Requirement
With COVID-19, there is tremendous public anxiety and public health risk. Patients are flooding the doctors’ offices to get tested. They are calling the offices to learn about symptoms, schedule appointments, and get a sense of relief. It’s overwhelming access centers across the country. Those able to handle COVID-19 best are those who adopted innovative administrative tools.
Three Essential Tools Your Office Needs to Deal with COVID-19
All these tools below are administrative tools designed to lessen the burden on staff and enable patients to more efficiently get tested and the communication they need.
1) AI Scheduling (QueueDr)
Patients ordinarily wait 24 days for an appointment. Now, with COVID-19, patients are scrambling for appointments and wait times are increasing. Whether or not patients can self-schedule, if the wait is too long, it can exacerbate the spread. Some health systems use a waitlist management software. Unfortunately, those solutions create more work for the overwhelmed staff. Using AI, QueueDr is 40x more effective at getting patients’ earlier appointments and cuts patient wait by 71%. The key is, by utilizing AI Scheduling, QueueDr frees up call center staff to focus on more important tasks.
QueueDr’s Bitbehind product is used to send a one-way customized text message to a large subset of patients. Some of our clients have been using this during the COVID-19 outbreak to messaging patients with new policies. One example is having patients wait in their car until they are called into their appointment, to minimize the possibility of cross-contamination.
How to Learn More: Request a Demo
2) Patient Engagement (OhMD)
Patients flooding the phones with questions about COVID-19 can disrupt a practice’s normal operations. But those questions are important! By utilizing other means of communication, like HIPAA-compliant texting provided by OhMD, practices can juggle the surge in patient demand and their normal operations. In fact, OhMD is offering the product for free to combat the COVID-19.
How to Learn More: Request a Demo
3) Telehealth (Hale Health)
Solution: Hale Health
Infectious patients hanging out in a waiting room is not good under normal circumstances. However, during this period, it is even worse. That’s why many providers and health systems are ramping up the use of telehealth. There are many solid telehealth solutions out there to choose from. The most important factor is the ease of use for both providers and patients.
Great patient access used to be about providing conveniences to patients. With the spread of COVID-19, great patient access means saving lives. Innovation in adopting administrative tools to enable great patient access is paying off, but it’s not too late. Make sure to select solutions with fast setup and immediate value.