I'm sure that most of you answered, "Absolutely," to the question above. I want to challenge you about your answer.
Just because you have a web site, a computer system to manage the basic functions of your practice and maybe also have implemented an EHR system, you probably still aren't using technology as effectively as you could or should. In fact, your viability in the future probably depends on you becoming a much better user of technology.
Let me ask you a few specific questions that will help you understand where I'm going with this:
- On your website, can your patients register (enter demographic, insurance and other information) and provide medical information that transfers to your software? This saves them time at your office and it saves your staff time, possibly allowing you to see more patients.
- Are you mining the data you have on your patients to communicate with them personally (birthdays, for example) and professionally (reminders about their medical conditions or information about their medical conditions from trusted sources)? You are one of their medical providers – an expert – and you should be taking a more active role.
- Do you use any of the social media tools now available (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)? I know it might seem silly to many of you, but a growing portion of our population spends a large percentage of their day using these social media tools and they like to interact with service providers via these channels.
- Do you still file paper? Whether it is letters or reports coming to you from other medical professionals, paper EOBs from insurance companies or things that must be signed in the office, these documents should get what I call "The Triple S Treatment": scan, shred, store.
- Are you marketing to and informing your patients while they're in your office? Wait times seem shorter to people when they aren't just sitting there waiting for you (whether in the waiting room or in an exam room). Use technology to inform your patients and market to them about the services you can provide.
These are the things that the most progressive, technology-savvy practices are doing, and so should you.
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