With mobile technology, medical professionals can now access their patients anytime and anywhere. Each of their patients carries a mini-computer in their pocket, and this technology can be harnessed to greatly improve the patient experience. One particular aspect of the patient experience that is ripe for disruption is the pre-appointment experience - that’s right, before the patient even enters the office. In this article, we will highlight several ways in which medical offices can take advantage of mobile to improve the pre-appointment patient experience.
Key ways that mobile can improve the pre-appointment experience
Streamline appointment paperwork
One of the most hated parts of a medical appointment is the paperwork. This is hated by both the patients and the medical office staff. Patients are required to tediously fill out line after line of their information in a process than can take up to 10 or 15 minutes. This process is hated by the medical office staff too, as, once the patient hands in their paperwork, this information needs to be transcribed into the office’s electronic medical records software (EMR). This is wasted time for both parties, and, often, this time can translate to delays in the doctor’s schedule which can have ripple effects on the rest of the day’s patients. To address this issue, medical offices can provide these forms to patients via a mobile app. The patient can then complete these forms at their convenience in the days leading up to their appointment. Additionally, once these forms are completed, the information can be automatically passed to the medical office's EMR system. This way, office staff to does not have to waste time entering the patient information into the EMR system. Patients can take advantage of document scanning technology, whereby they simply scan their insurance or ID card and the text is automatically read and entered into the relevant fields on their mobile app.
Improve insurance approval and ID verification workflows
Regarding patient insurance and ID, simply having this information is only half the battle. Patients are, understandably, always eager to know if their insurance covers the visit or procedure and how much they will have to pay. Once the medical office has the patient’s insurance and ID cards, the medical office staff can go ahead and request approvals from the relevant insurance company. The medical office is then tasked with reaching the patient to discuss their insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses. These calls are a labor intensive process for medical offices, and patient follow up can often get lost in the shuffle. With mobile, medical offices can push insurance approval information to the patient’s mobile app in real-time, as soon as this information is added to the EMR system. This saves pre-appointment anxiety; The patient knows how much they will need to pay, and the medical office can ensure that they do not perform any unapproved procedures.
Clearly Communicate Billing Status & Plan
Of course, your medical office cannot continue to render services if patients are not paying their bills. One way to increase revenues and decrease accounts receivable is to provide your patients with convenient billing and payment channels. With a mobile app and web interface, your billing department can send patient’s billing information via in-app push notifications to each patient in real time. This information can include invoices, past due notices, and payment plan information. Patients can then easily pay these bills via credit card or bank debit directly within the medical office’s mobile app. This helps improve the pre-appointment experience as your patients will know exactly where they stand from a billing perspective before they come in for an appointment, and your front desk can avoid any awkward conversations regarding past due bills or collections notices.
Push Timely Reminders
There are few occurrences that are worse in day-to-day patient flows than needing to reschedule a patient appointment because they did not adhere to pre-appointment instructions. For example, if a patient did not fast or take needed antibiotics before a treatment appointment, there are many instances where this patient has to be rescheduled for another day. This is an inconvenience to the patient who has likely taken off work, and this is an inconvenience to the medical office as this rescheduling translates to lost revenue. With a mobile app, the patient can be notified via push notifications of any special instructions they must adhere to prior to their visit. This helps keeps both patients and their physicians on the same page, and this helps decrease unnecessary appointment cancellation and rescheduling.
As mentioned, there are several ways in which mobile can improve the pre-appointment experience. With a mobile app, medical offices can decrease paperwork times, better communicate insurance approval status, increase revenues, and reduce unnecessary appointment cancellations. 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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