As the world adjusts to the new normal, many healthcare providers find themselves navigating patient flows that aren’t conducive to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. They are facing small waiting rooms, extensive in-take processes, and several patient interactions that are non-essential to providing care— each interaction placing their patients and staff at risk.
To combat these challenges healthcare providers and patients, alike, have begun embracing digital healthcare transformation, adopting new technologies at a never before seen pace. These technologies allow practices to increase the distance between patients and staff and follow social distancing guidelines, while still providing exceptional care, and even improving the overall patient experience.
Here are five ways your practice could use healthcare software to improve social distancing.
Telehealth software is becoming increasingly popular, as virtual visits help keep patients out of waiting rooms and mitigate potential exposure to COVID-19. This digital communication technology enables patients to connect with physicians remotely over their phone, tablet, or laptop for contactless appointments. A recent study found in 2019 only 11% of respondents had used telehealth, as compared to 46% in 2020. With the increase in virtual care options, patients are embracing the greater flexibility that comes with online appointments. No more taking off a day of work or commuting to the doctor’s office. Meanwhile, your practice benefits from increased revenues and greater efficiency, because you now have the ability to take after-hour calls and increased patient loads.
Limit or Eliminate Time in the Waiting Room
Pre-pandemic, waiting rooms were one of the biggest challenges in practice workflow and efficiency. In the wake of COVID-19, waiting rooms have become one of the largest obstacles of social distancing.
Although telehealth and virtual appointments have reduced waiting room traffic, practices are finding that digital healthcare solutions can not only improve the patient journey by decreasing time in the waiting room, but also aid in social distancing. Social Distancing solutions allows office staff to easily notify patients it’s time for their appointment through a text message. This means patients can wait in their vehicles rather than an office waiting room, so waiting rooms remain at minimum occupancy and recommended distancing can be maintained.
Less and less patient interaction revolves around providing excellent healthcare. Paperwork, insurance collection and payment processing are all interactions that can put your staff at risk, and your patients, too. Digital check-in solutions make contact-free interactions and data collection easy, gathering demographic data and consent forms without the need for handling several pieces of paper. Instead, patients are automatically emailed paperwork to be completed at home, in their car, or anywhere and healthcare software pushes it directly into your EHR. This not only improves the overall patient experience and diminishes wait times for limited exposure, but it additionally eliminates office data entry.
As practices transition to telehealth and other software solutions, supporting patient in-take through digital processes has become increasingly important. Remote in-take allows demographic information, patient medical histories, and your consent forms to be presented to your patients via email and pushed directly into your EHR upon completion.
This software automates the virtual appointment process and lessens the burden of patient in-take paperwork on office staff. Remote in-take software can reduce no-show rates, as well, by sending patient’s notifications via email and text message reminding them of their telehealth appointment.
Many practices have implemented pre-screening procedures, but an in-person or over-the-phone symptoms review can take valuable time away from care. Digital pre-screening procedures, even for COVID-19 can be a part of the remote in-take process. Patients are asked to complete a series of questions based on CDC guidelines and if any patient is identified with COVID-19 risk factors, a staff notification will appear. This process enables the staff to reschedule at-risk patients for a telehealth appointment, send the patient for testing, or make proper preparations before the patient’s visit to mitigate the risk for providers and other patients.
Although we can only be six feet apart, with solutions like DocResponse, we are closer than ever to a safer, more streamlined patient experience. Healthcare Software continues to play a pivotal role in social distancing and slowing the transmission of COVID-19. To learn how DocResponse can empower your practice with new ways to provide modernized virtual care, optimize patient flows, and prevent continued virus spread, Schedule a Demo today.