4 Technologies to Improve the Patient Experience

October 24, 2021

A 2019 study showed that 78.8 percent of patients want to use a secure online portal to communicate information to their doctor and access their medical history. This shows how modern healthcare is changing, focusing mainly on the patient experience side. Patient satisfaction scores and reputation are essential to success and patient referral.

While relationships between patients and providers are part of the equation, medical technology is the other half, coming together to provide the optimal patient experience. Therefore, it is essential to understand the common pain points and address them before they have a negative impact.

In our technologically savvy world, enhanced technologies have the potential to improve the patient experience, streamline past pain points, and boost satisfaction. Here are four technologies you should consider implementing in your practice.

1. An Online Scheduling System

Analysis of patient responsibility—from searching for a healthcare provider to booking appointments, disclosing medical data, and communicating with doctors—is essential, as the patient experience is vast. Each of these areas offers pain points and innovative solutions beginning with scheduling. Gone are the days where individuals were excited by phone calls: Today, phone calls often mean being put on hold, with too much back and forth needed to schedule an appointment. By implementing an online scheduling system, patients can complete an identity verification task quickly, detail the reason for their visit, and visually select a date and time that works best for them, versus haggling with the receptionist. While many front desk personnel are kind and patient, a no-nonsense scheduler is much preferred and efficient, especially for the younger generations. While this doesn’t eliminate the need for a phone line, it does streamline communications on both sides.

One popular option for an online scheduler is MyChart. Owned by Epic Systems Corporation, MyChart is a private and secure software with an easy-to-use interface and simple scheduling tool. Patients simply need to log into their account using their unique username and password. From there, their homepage shows an appointment scheduler button. Select this, the provider’s name you want to schedule, and one of their available dates and times. That’s it. Simple, hassle-free, and convenient.

Many healthcare offices offer free tutorials on using their online platforms, so be sure to contact the front office with any questions or concerns. You can also receive updates via text message or phone call, whichever is easiest for you. The joy of modern technology is the ability to adapt to each individual’s specific wants and needs. So, be sure to take advantage of the customizable options.

2. Digital Patient Forms

Another pain point for many individuals is completing new patient and other print data collection forms. This traditional method of gathering information is outdated, slow, and often frustrating for individuals, especially when they’re under the weather, pressed for time, or accustomed to using technology for their everyday life. Obtaining information should be as easy as pushing a button.

Additionally, patients want to digitally complete this required paperwork and come to appointments prepared ahead of time. Finally, making this step digital will increase provider efficiency. Before your visit, they have all the necessary information and can streamline reports and patient data collection throughout the appointment. For unprepared patients, in-office kiosks offer another digital solution to completing patient forms.

Maureen McKinney, a writer with Phreesia, shares,

The patient intake process plays a critical role in the operational, financial and clinical success of medical practices and health systems. For instance, an efficient, streamlined intake process means faster throughput and shorter wait times. Consistently collecting at the time of service means less bad debt and increased profitability. And gathering clinical data during intake means providers are better able to care for their patients and meet their quality-improvement goals.

Digital patient intake also offers practices the opportunity to connect personally with an individual before their visit, offering directions, instructions, and answers to any questions. This increases the likelihood of a more positive, more consistent experience. Stop relying on traditional, more expensive, less efficient methods of data collection. Instead, simplify all aspects of your practice with a digital solution.

3. Bedside Tablets for Education and Entertainment

Next up, let’s explore the in-office experience. For many patients, healthcare visits are anxiety-inducing. With all its scientific terms and complexities, information isn’t always communicated straightforwardly, and patients are left to wonder. Finally, appointments can be long and drawn-out as providers squeeze in as many patients as possible. All of these areas are potential pain points. Thankfully, with technology, we can solve these before they turn into more significant issues, improving the patient’s understanding, level of entertainment, and mental state. Consider integrating bedside tablets into your practice. Not only are these relatively affordable, simple, and effective, but they enhance user experience tenfold.

PatientPoint founder and CEO Mark Collette concluded after a 2018 survey that “physicians are embracing patient engagement technology and are looking to integrate it across important touchpoints to better educate patients and optimize the patient experience,” adding that “this positive view of technology—and knowing that pharmaceutical brands can play a role—represents significant opportunities for brands to better connect with patients and physicians during the office visit as well as before and after.”

Add short explanatory videos or imagery to help educate patients on otherwise challenging, medical-heavy information. This allows them to feel more secure in their treatment plan and engaged with their care team. Also, this can serve as entertainment for the downtime between the nurse practitioner and doctor checking in. On a basic level, distraction can be the key to eliminating boredom, anxiety, and frustration during healthcare visits.

4. Secure Patient Messaging Platform

Finally, implementing a secure patient messaging platform allows patients to feel more connected with their providers. This increases their feeling of trust and security, as they can send their care team messages 24/7. The bottom line here is that better communication is the key to a better user experience. It is also good practice to remind your patients of this avenue of communication and show them how to use it, as some, especially older patients, may struggle to adapt at first.

In our technologically savvy world, enhanced technologies have the potential to improve the patient experience, streamline past pain points, and boost satisfaction. It is essential to stay up to date and consider your patient base when making any decision. By offering both the traditional and modern communication and record-keeping systems, you can ensure all patients are satisfied with their experience.