In the face of increasing regulations and decreasing reimbursements, it’s becoming more and more important for providers to not only demonstrate their value to patients, but also manage their own time. After all, if time is money, then wasted time is wasted money—and that goes for you, your staff, and your patients. So, get some of that time back by ensuring your front-office software enables you to streamline your workflows, and thus provide a better patient experience from start to finish.
Read on to learn more about these five front-office must-haves:
1. Digital Patient Intake Forms
As Kylie McKee wrote in this blog post, “Ask any patient what the most time-consuming part of the intake process is, and the answer will almost always be the paperwork.” Which is exactly why embedding a customizable intake form into your website is the right move. It enables your patients to complete all of their medical history, insurance, and demographic information before they show up to their appointments (and when it’s most convenient for them). That way, your front office staff can review important info and verify insurance eligibility before a patient arrives.
This’ll cut down on patient waiting room time—thus improving the patient experience—and save you and your staff precious minutes, as the information the patient enters will transfer directly into your EMR. That means no more errors resulting from manual data-entry mistakes or misinterpretation of a patient’s illegible handwriting.
2. Electronic Insurance Verification
Speaking of verifying patient insurance, how long does it normally take your staff to do? If the answer falls above the five-minute mark, you should consider automating this process. Not only do electronic benefit verification tools run eligibility checks in mere minutes—saving your front office staff time and headache—they also integrate with your existing EMR. This means that whatever insurance information is collected upfront is automatically transferred to the patient chart—giving your clinicians a leg up on one of their most time-consuming tasks (ahem, documentation).
3. Intuitive Scheduling
As a busy rehab therapist, you have a lot going on—and that means you have a lot to keep track of. Whether you’re running a single-practitioner practice or a large multi-clinic organization, the ability to easily view provider calendars as well as schedule and change patient appointments is crucial. But that’s not all. Your front-office software should enable you and your staff to:
- Book, change, and remove patient appointments
- Set recurring patient appointments and meetings
- Drag and drop to reschedule patient appointments
- Track no-shows and cancellations
- See multiple therapists' calendars in one view with color-coding
- Create calendars for rooms or equipment that require reservations
- Monitor Medicare patients’ progress toward the therapy cap within appointment entries
If you’re a WebPT Member looking to maximize the use of your scheduler, check out this post; you’ll learn some great front-office hacks.
4. Automated Appointment Reminders
Therapy is only effective if patients show up to their appointments. While this may sound like a no-brainer, patient no-shows and cancellations continue to be a problem for many clinics—and patients. Well, clinics that haven’t implemented automatic appointment reminders, that is. Adopting a front-office software that enables you to send automatic appointment reminders to patients via text, email, or phone can help reduce no-shows by as much as 30%. Not only will sending automatic appointment reminders relieve your front-office staff from having to perform time-consuming patient calls, but it also may help improve patient engagement.
What’s the point of going paperless with an EMR if you’re still faxing and filing paper documents, like diagnostic images, patient-signed consent forms, physician referrals, and prescriptions? Adopt a front-office software that enables you to upload your external docs directly into your patients’ records—creating an online archive of information on each patient that anyone on your team can access—as well as fax and email your patient notes directly from the system.
Have any other front-office must-haves that we haven’t touched on here? Tell us what’s helped you streamline your front-office in the comment section below.