As a clinic leader, you pride yourself on doing everything you can for the people under your care—whether that’s the patients coming in for treatment or the providers caring for them on a daily basis. However, the world has shifted in recent years, and with it, the expectations that both patients and employees place on their practice experience.
It’s no longer enough to simply do the basics—in a world where technology has made ease and convenience the norm, you can't afford to be behind the times if you want to keep your patients and your employees from looking elsewhere for what they want. (That’s the idea behind Practice Experience Management.) Fortunately, it’s fairly straightforward to implement those changes in your clinic to keep everyone happy—and to make your whole operation more efficient, to boot. But it’s something you can’t do without the right Practice Experience Management.
What makes for the ideal therapy practice experience?
So what is the ideal therapy practice experience? As I alluded to earlier, most people have become quite accustomed to a level of seamless, simple convenience in their interactions. We can log into work from our home, and have our meals, groceries, and just about anything else delivered to us with a few taps. We know how easy technology can make things—which is why it’s particularly frustrating when we have experiences that require too much work and too many steps. We know things can be better, and many of us will seek that better experience somewhere else if we’re not getting it from our first choice.
Patients want engagement along with convenience.
In the world of patient care, outcomes still reign supreme—but patients may never see those outcomes if they don't make it through the entire course of care. That’s why engaging patients at every step of the process is so important to providing that exceptional practice experience. It starts at your digital front door with a website that’s easy to navigate and offers online scheduling so they can book an appointment without a chance to reconsider. From there, you should make it easy for patients to attend that first appointment with automated text or email reminders, and allow them to skip the tedious first visit paperwork with digital patient intake (DPI). They can complete from the comfort of their home while your front office staff utilizes electronic benefits verification (eBV) to ensure a smooth start to the plan of care.
Of course, you still need to be on top of your game when it comes to care. In the case of referrals, you need a patient’s record from their referring provider in a timely manner so you can get them in the clinic as soon as possible—which is why Direct Secure Messaging is a lifesaver for those tired of having their staff tied to the fax machine. You also need to keep patients engaged through what can be a long, arduous recovery process; making use of patient relationship management software allows you to send educational materials or satisfaction surveys to their email in between appointments so you can continue to build that therapeutic alliance.
On the subject of care, getting away from strictly in-person appointments is a great way to offer the convenience that many patients want, particularly as they try to juggle work and family with their course of care. Telehealth and virtual visits can replace in-office follow-ups where appropriate, and a digital home exercise program (HEP) offers patients a more convenient way of accessing exercises than print-outs—not to mention improving patients’ overall compliance to the HEP.
Providers and staff want tools that make their jobs easier.
While customer service is paramount in the ideal therapy practice experience, we can’t forget about the people doing the hard work of patient care—particularly at a time when turnover and burnout are at crisis levels. That’s why it’s so important to invest in tools that allow your providers and staff to do their job and help ease administrative burden at a time of increased patient volume. The EMR is the backbone of any clinic workflow, and you need an EMR that makes documentation simple for providers—ideally one that connects to the other solutions you’re using in those workflows.
Generating and tracking optimal patient outcomes is another essential function you can simplify for your providers. Along with the aforementioned digital HEP, adding remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) into the mix gives clinicians another tool to track and measure patient progress. Paired with outcomes tracking solutions, you’ll be able to give your providers the clearest picture of where they’re succeeding, where they can improve, and how patients are responding to their care.
Your front and back-office operations are also looking for tools that can make their jobs a little easier. DPI and eBV aren’t just a benefit for patients—they’ll also save your front office staff the headache of managing paper forms at the front desk. The same goes for online payment portals—while it’s certainly a good practice to collect payment at the front desk, it’s good to have an option for patients to pay at home as well to ensure you’re collecting what you’re owed.
Speaking of collections, your billing and revenue cycle management (RCM) team could certainly use an assist from technology wherever possible. Given the volume of claims they have to process every month, billing software with built-in claims scrubbing is a must to save them time and the headaches of reworking denied claims. They also need to be able to more easily track and update your accounts receivable (A/R) and payments— something that any billing software worth its salt should be able to provide. And—in case you missed the tech buzz of 2023—we’re heading into a brave new world where AI can help with these functions by checking for correct coding and documentation compliance for every claim, all the time—something that even your highly capable staff (or any human, for that matter) could manage.
The answer to creating the ideal therapy practice experience isn’t terribly complicated; it’s simply about removing the barriers and friction points that cause providers and staff to tear their hair out—and patients to look for a new clinic. All that is required is keeping pace with the technology curve that’s shaping every service profession in 2024 and beyond.
If you’re interested in doing just that and in learning more about the ideal practice experience, be sure to check out this handy checklist where we explain what PXM can do for you.