Heavily regulated industries are often the last to adopt new technologies. A combination of red tape, industry giants, and sometimes simply just ingrained habit are often at the root of this slow adoption. However, when new technology eventually becomes widely used across these industries, businesses enjoy massive increases in efficiency, and customers enjoy improvements to their overall experience. The medical field is no exception, particularly with regard to private medical practices and mobile apps. In this article, we will explore several ways in which private medical practices can leverage mobile to improve the patient experience.
Several benefits of mobile apps
1. Appointment booking
While it is starting to change, the vast majority of medical practices today have no option for booking appointments other than calling up their medical office’s front desk. This process often entails a call hold period, missed calls, and unreturned voicemails. Additionally, this process is inconvenient for patients who hold a job during standard workday hours. With a custom mobile app, medical practices can offer their patients 24/7 appointment booking all without the patient needing to call and have a conversation with a receptionist. This appointment booking functionality can be directly integrated with your practice's electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR) system. This allows booked appointments to display directly within your current software, and it allows dynamic changes for appointment availability as available slots get booked. Additionally, patients can receive in-app appointment reminders for not only the date and time but also for medical directives such as taking advised medication prior to scheduled treatment.
2. Health data access and uploading
Accessing patient health data is always a struggle, both for the patient and your medical practice. Patients are unfamiliar with the details of their medical history, and it can take several days or even weeks to source the original medical records from other physicians. Using mobile, patients can upload and store their patient health information as well as send and track medical record requests to their physicians. Your medical clinic can allow patients to start this process prior to their appointment, so your practice can streamline the patient flow from initial consult to actual treatment.
3. Prescription refills & patient compliance
Prescription refill workflows and patient compliance can also be greatly improved with a mobile app. Rather than the patient misplacing or forgetting their script, physicians can now push electronic prescription requests to the patient's preferred pharmacy. Using mobile, these electronic prescriptions can be conveniently stored and located by your patients. Additional functionality can include in-app reminders and logs to assist patients in complying with their daily medicine plan. Patients can also easily request prescription refills and make changes to their preferred pharmacy information all without having to contact or speak with your medical practice.
4. Treatment information and patient education
Aligning patient expectations with typical treatment outcomes is a huge part of the job for a medical practice. However, properly managing expectations and educating patients often requires multiple touch points and conversations. With a custom mobile app, medical practices can push text and video content to their patients with timely reminders on what to do and what to expect pre and post treatment. Better educated patients better comply with medical directives and are less likely to be disappointed with treatment results.
5. Telehealth and mobile-video healthcare delivery
The new frontier for patient education is now remote, video-based “telehealth". This technology enables your patients to receive care more conveniently, and it also helps your physicians optimize their time and pack in more billable hours. Telehealth works great for standard check-up and follow up exams that need to occur at regular intervals yet don’t require the patient’s physical presence. Telehealth is also a great solution for marketing and getting new patients in the door with free consultations, as simply showing up for a telehealth call is a much easier commitment to keep than scheduling and showing up for an in-office appointment. While this is a relatively new medium of delivering healthcare, it is important to note that mobile healthcare visits can be billed to insurance companies too.
As described, mobile app technology can bring a variety of benefits to your medical practice. Importantly, mobile app technology can also bring a variety of benefits to your patients and improve the standard of care at your medical clinic. To learn more regarding the benefits and use cases of mobile apps in healthcare, check out our healthcare related blog posts.
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