It’s hard to overstate how much convenience and continuity matter for today’s consumers. I’ll use myself as an example; if I have to wait more than a couple of minutes for a self-checkout lane at the grocery store, I’m beside myself with frustration. Similarly, if I have to try and remember my username and password to once again log into a streaming service that I just signed into two weeks ago, I’m annoyed enough to want to turn off the TV. Am I describing personal character defects as much as modern consumer expectations? Perhaps! But the point remains that people other than me have also become accustomed to a certain level of ease in their interactions with the world.
Healthcare isn’t immune to these pressures—like it or not, patients are probably going to ding your practice if it’s too much of a hassle to get quality care on time. One problem that is regularly causing what might be a well-oiled machine to break down is care coordination. As a rehab therapist, working with referring physicians and other providers is part of the job—so how can you look to improve on your current practice’s patient care with a smooth, seamless process? Practice Experience Management (PXM) offers a way forward. Here’s how PXM can improve care coordination.
PXM guides patients down the road to recovery.
Referral leakage is a real thing—and not something any practice can afford in an environment where every patient and every dollar is vital to your bottom line. With that in mind, you want to make it easy for referred patients (or new patients, for that matter) to get that first appointment on the books and start treatment as soon as possible.
Adopting a PXM approach means making that first step in the care journey easy with tools that break down barriers between you and patients instead of throwing up more. Scheduling over the phone offers more of a personal touch—but not every patient wants to possibly wait on hold or has the time to call during your working hours. Online scheduling lets patients easily find a time that works for their schedule from their device.
Similarly, patients might not have time to answer a bunch of questions on the spot about their medical history—or have that information readily available. How many times have you sat down with a patient to start the evaluation, asked them about their history, and they replied, “Shouldn’t you already have that information?” With digital patient intake (DPI), patients get the convenience they desire and can go through the onboarding process at their own pace—all in advance of their first appointment to avoid filling out forms once they arrive.
PXM builds better lines of communication.
One huge hurdle to better coordination between providers has been the basic communication of necessary information. The profession has been behind the times when it comes to technology with the continued existence of paper faxes as a proof point. Fortunately, PXM can improve care coordination with the simple addition of better technology.
Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) is central to the PXM approach to treatment. As WebPT Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer, Heidi Jannenga outlines in this Founder Letter, DSM (along with health information exchanges) simplifies communication by getting providers and facilities on the same standardized communication platform, making it easier to exchange messages, share files and records securely, and eliminating the additional work that comes with jumping between messaging options and scanning faxed records. And it’s the preferred option of a growing number of providers—almost 300,000 organizations are using some form of DSM as of the end of 2023, according to Direct Trust.
If you’re wondering what the benefits of DSM in your practice would be, check out this blog post where we covered some of the use cases for DSM, including:
- Transfer of care;
- Care coordination;
- E-signature collection; and
- Improved front-office workflows.
PXM puts the patient at the center of the care experience.
The increased focus on patient-centered care may be the biggest improvement PXM offers over other existing treatment and care coordination approaches. Current point solutions are so heavily focused on what they can do for providers that they lose sight of patients. All the time spent bouncing between solutions and trying to find or migrate the information you need is taking away from time that you could spend with patients. Not to mention that disparate, disconnected software makes for a frustrating experience for patients as well as providers—and in an environment where patients have to make choices about spending their healthcare dollars, you don’t want to offer reasons to stop coming to the clinic.
PXM isn’t just about technology doing the work of creating a patient-centered treatment experience—it’s about giving rehab therapists the tools and intelligence they’ve never had before to offer the level of personalized care they’ve always wanted to provide. Integrated workflows mean that the information shared from referring providers is shared across all of the software you use with patients. And your view into a patient’s condition and adherence no longer ends at the front door of the clinic; with remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) and digital home exercise programs (HEP), you have greater patient engagement, better insight, and more data on how a patient is responding to and progressing with their treatment, allowing you to further tailor a plan of care for a patient’s specific needs.
How can I adopt the PXM approach?
If your practice is still stuck in the old way of doing things, embracing a PXM approach is a great way to make a leap forward in coordinating treatment with patients and providers. Adopting PXM doesn’t require making drastic changes to the way you do business, however—other than using software that is as interconnected with your other solutions as it is with the rest of your care team members.
Eliminate the front-office logjam. Better care coordination starts at the front of the house with better processes for connecting with patients and other providers. PXM can improve care coordination with tools like online scheduling and DPI that are essential for getting patients in the door. DSM (like WebPT’s Message Manager) makes it easier to get referrals from providers who don’t want to deal with faxing.
Build a holistic view of the patient.
With an EMR and other software that embodies the PXM approach, it’s easier to incorporate the full scope of patient information to make better decisions about treatment options. Add to that RTM, HEP, and outcomes tracking software, and you’ve got the best information to share with your patient—and their referring providers.
As we’ve said before, PXM is all about connections—and there are few more important connections for a patient than the one their various providers create to give the best, most comprehensive care. If your communication with other providers leaves a lot to be desired, it might be time to see how PXM can improve care coordination.