The future patient onboarding process is digital

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At the heart of the pandemic, hospital systems around the world were under severe strain. Overworked staff, lack of resources and overwhelming patient numbers, coupled with fear of the unknown, have made hospitals far too small.

But the crisis has also stimulated innovation. The need to make the best use of staff time has accelerated digital transformation plans already underway, including the adoption of cloud computing. The use of the cloud in healthcare has proliferated in recent years and has certainly become a priority investment for the healthcare industry around the world.

In fact, BDO Consulting found that 93% of healthcare organizations worldwide have already adopted a digital transformation strategy, with more than a quarter (78%) already deploying cloud computing in their operations, and another fifth (20%) intends to spend for its deployment. So how can executives seize this opportunity and make the most of the cloud revolution in healthcare?

Set up a digital gateway

As patient expectations change, delivering a faster, more modern experience is of utmost importance to healthcare. A recent McKinsey report found that two-fifths (40%) of consumers expect telehealth services such as a ‘digital gateway’ to continue after COVID 19, providing a seamless customer interface will be important to expand the digital health space as the pandemic wanes.

An example of this is Nature Coast Women’s Care & Family Medicine, located in Florida, which modernized the patient experience using technology and reduced patient wait times by three-quarters (75%). The combination of technological innovation and a proactive approach to patient care will lead to a more efficient healthcare system. The practice’s strategic planning has led to the implementation of cloud technology as a way to reinvent the patient admission process.

Before investing in the technology, every Nature Coast patient had to fill out mundane and tedious paperwork, which would take 15 minutes, sometimes longer, to complete. They also had to bring various identification documents such as their license and insurance card to each appointment.
After reception staff received the documents, they had to verify that everything was complete and correct before scanning the package into the patient’s chart in the electronic medical record system. This wasted valuable time that could be spent treating patients instead.

A digital patient experience

While this legacy process is similar to the patient admission process at many other clinics, the Nature Coast team saw room for improvement. By scanning the admission form, the clinic could reduce errors that can arise when patients fill out the form with pen and paper, and ensure that all the necessary information is entered without having to return the form to the patient.

Going one step further, the clinic could completely replace the manual in-person process by using an automated digital process that includes an electronic form and workflow integrated into a cloud-based content management system. Patients could be given the option to submit the form online, which would reduce wait times for all patients and streamline the work of the office.

With a digital gateway, patient information is recorded in an electronic health record system that automatically sets up the initial appointment. This transparent process can ease the pressure on already pressured staff while ensuring that patients are treated faster – a win-win situation.

Safe and secure in the cloud

Healthcare organizations manage an abundance of patient data and sensitive information, and if this information were compromised it would be a disaster for the patients and the clinic. Storing data in the cloud, rather than on paper, makes it easy to retrieve patient information and improve information governance.

Data security, regulatory compliance, and privacy laws play an important role in the decision-making process of healthcare organizations. The nature of these confidential documents meant that security was a top priority when choosing the technological solution to protect patient information.

For the Nature Coast team, the selection of a cloud-based content management system aligned well with the firm’s technological approach. With a remote and distributed workforce, having access to electronic medical files and records no matter where the staff is located is crucial.

Using cloud technology, the clinic would be able to define who has access to different records at a granular level. This visibility combined with DoD 5015.2 certified records management software allows patients and staff to feel secure about the information they put into the system.

The impact of COVID-19 has led more and more healthcare organizations to accelerate their digital transformation plans and invest in cloud technology. While this innovation is positive, it is important that organizations spend time ensuring that their investments are activated in a secure manner. After all, when it comes to healthcare, safety can’t be an afterthought.

An “always active” health sector

The “always on” mentality of society has quickly infiltrated the healthcare sector since the pandemic and the practicalities of remote working. The health sector is no longer foreign to ubiquitous access to applications, data and communication tools. The attention of practitioners has shifted to the tools they can use to create care programs with better outcomes based on intelligent analysis.

Like the “always on” company, since its inception, Nature Coast has received positive feedback from patients and staff on the new digital admissions process. With smart cloud-based platforms, patients no longer sit in the waiting room filling out paperwork and there is no longer a problem of forgetting driver’s licenses or insurance cards because all information will have been sent. It’s no wonder that wait times for new patients have been reduced by 75%.

This is not a siled example. The healthcare industry as a whole continues to build on the success of a new digital patient intake process. As healthcare invests in cloud technology, there is no doubt that there will be more opportunities to invest in technology that can help automate more repetitive tasks in their clinic and take advantage of healthcare software. process analysis to become more efficient.

After all, data and analytics will prove to be useful tools for increasing the volume of new patients and the efficient process will help retain them for the long term – the right investments in technology are a prescription for digital transformation.


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