Mastering the Patient-First Approach with athenahealth EMR

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Where does your patient experience start? From when the patient walks in, or even before that? While many of you might think that providing an engaging patient experience is essential after the patient walks in, it couldn’t be further from the truth. More than 94% of patients have stated they determine a physician’s credibility through online reviews. In this article, we’ll take you through how you can build an engaging patient experience throughout your patient journey with athenahealth EMR.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), in 2018, took part in a survey of healthcare practices that focused on a patient-centric approach. They found that practices that focus on the entire patient journey have higher revenues than those that only focused on providing a patient experience after the intake process.

First Impressions are Still Important

While many of us believe that first impressions aren’t necessary, it’s not entirely true when talking about practices. More than 94% of your patients determine your credibility through your online reviews. So if you have a bad reputation online, chances are you’re missing out on a massive portion of your patient pool.

Then comes your website. While most practitioners believe having a website is enough, a poorly designed website can actually do more harm than good. Here are some key questions to ask when assessing the effectiveness of your website.

  • When was my website last updated?
  • Is it designed for an easy user experience?
  • Do patients have trouble booking appointments?

The third-place your patients visit before coming into your practice is your social media. More than 41% of patients have said that a strong social media presence has influenced their decision-making process. 

I know this seems like a lot of information, but rest assured, there’s a very simple solution too.

How can athenahealth EMR help?

Think of patients as the blood that powers your clinical body. Without patients, your body will run dry. To maximize patient interactions, you need to maximize patient engagement and create a patient-centric approach in your practice. You can integrate your athenaCommunicator module with your athenahealth EMR to stay connected with users at every stage. With athenahealth, you can:

  • Craft an end-to-end patient experience
  • Stay connected with patients
  • Be easy to find online
  • Set appointment reminders
  • Set-up outreach campaigns

While it’s essential to provide high-quality medical care, it’s also important to be accessible to patients at any time.

Pre-Visit Patient Engagement

Once you’ve built a strong first impression, more and more patients would want to visit your practice. Now comes the part where you meet their expectations. Making a strong first impression is where you set a certain level of expectation. Their experience that leads to your office is where you can meet that expectation.

Pro Tip: Providing an engaging experience in one step isn’t enough. You have to be consistent in your approach. 

Here are some areas you can provide pre-visit patient engagement:

Online Patient Scheduling

The first thing you need to keep in mind with pre-visit patient engagement is online patient scheduling. Here’s everything you need to know about online patient scheduling:

Put Patients in the Driving Seat: Allowing patients to choose the timing for their appointments helps them choose a time at their leisure while sitting at home. 

Go Beyond 9-5: While businesses run from 9-5, people don’t. Patients get sick outside working hours. Having extended hours, even for just one day of the week, helps increase footfall in your practice.

Simplified Patient Intake: Nobody likes to wait. Lengthy patient intake processes are killing your patient satisfaction. Instead, you can have athenahealth’s online patient intake solution. You can even offer online consent forms to your patients to save time and effort.

Automated Appointment Reminders

Humans forget things. If your patients set an appointment two weeks ago, there’s a strong chance they might forget. That’s why sending automated appointment reminders is an effective way of reducing no-shows. 

Some practices call patients before every appointment. While that may seem to get the job done, it costs you way more to call patients rather than a simple automated reminder. On average, practices spend more than $5,000+ calling patients to remind them of upcoming appointments and staff members. Wouldn’t you rather just send your patients an automated reminder at practically zero cost?

Waiting Rooms

The last stop before a patient’s visit is sitting in the waiting room. While many practices undermine the importance of waiting rooms, they can be super effective in catching the eye of your patients. How? Well, first, there’s the physical aspect of it. You can provide free wifi, coffee or tea, magazines, books, and even TV. 

One of the biggest mistakes physicians make is stuffing waiting rooms with as many chairs as possible. While that may help you seat a large number of patients, it doesn’t appeal to users. Every patient that walks into your practice has a safe space. It’s better to keep your waiting rooms less compacted. 

If you’re running late by chance, you can communicate directly with your patients through athenahealth EMR software to let them know you’re running late. athenahealth EMR also comes equipped with many patient engagement tools that help reduce waiting time to a bare minimum.

Download our guide on Top-Rated EMR for Revenue Cycle Management in 2020

During Patient Visit

During your patient visit, the entirety of your focus should be on your patients. That’s why you need a technology partner that helps you stay laser-focused on your patients without having to worry about administrative tasks like manual charting, coding, etc.

Here are some of the way athenahealth EMR software helps you engage with your patients proactively:

Pre-Designed Templates: With athenahealth EMR, you can access hundreds of pre-designed templates that range from common diseases to complex ones.

Voice-Activated Charting: Think of athenahealth EMR as your personal assistant. You can give voice commands to it if you want it to scribe notes for you. 

Review Flowsheets: athenahealth EMR also offers flowsheets that show all of the user’s previous medical history (diagnosis, medications, allergies, etc.) on a single screen.

Treatment Plans: Creating treatment plans from scratch is a lengthy and unnecessary hassle. You can edit and change athenahealth EMR’s pre-designed treatment plans to save time.

Then, of course, there are services like telehealth, care coordination, population health, and Epocrates that athenahealth EMR provides.

Putting Patients First with athenahealth EMR

Just to recap some of the information we’ve talked about, a patient engagement strategy includes three significant steps; first impressions, pre-visit, and during/after the visit. While many practices have started putting patients in the center of their workflows, they often mistake missing out on one of these steps.

To ensure you provide the best medical care to your patients, you need to build a robust patient-centric approach. However, that can be quite challenging if you don’t know where to start. That’s why athenahealth EMR software provides you with the opportunity to simplify your operations, automate workflows, and maximize patient engagement.

Enjoyed reading this article? Talk to one of our experts on how you can maximize patient engagement with athenahealth EMR.

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