Inefficient processes at your busy chiropractic office are not only a waste of time for both you and your staff but also a waste of your hard-earned money. In fact, in Business Efficiency for Dummies, it’s estimated that inefficiencies overall “cost many organizations as much as 20 to 30 percent of their revenue each year.”
Just imagine what you could do if you added that amount of money back into your bottom line. Maybe you’d decide to use it to get rid of that old, ratty office equipment (like your rundown chiropractic table and x-ray machine), replacing it with newer and more advanced models that respond instantly and effortlessly to your commands. Or perhaps you’d take the saved cash and take your family on a much-needed vacation to the tropics, or invest it toward your retirement.
Regardless of what you would decide to do with it, one thing is clear – you won’t have to worry about that extra revenue if you want to clean up your inefficiencies. While this may at first seem like an insurmountable task, one way to start is to choose an electronic health record (EHR) that uses patient-assisted applications. The most important applications to research would be online patient portals, waiting room kiosks, online scheduling, and digital intake forms.
Online Patient Portals
How many times a day does your office get phone calls from patients asking questions about their health record or requesting copies of those records so they can be sent to other healthcare providers? By offering an EHR that enables your patients’ access to this type of information on their own, you’re freeing up your office staff.
You’re also making your patients happier because they can get the information whenever they wish. Additionally, a ton in postage can be saved especially if you makes or receives referrals or if your practice sees personal injury patients. And let’s not forget to mention that online patient portals are more secure than sending records through snail mail.
Waiting Room Kiosks
Although waiting room kiosks seem like they’d save the patient more time than you, they can increase the time efficiency of your office staff as well. How?
Kiosks make it possible for the patient to document their health-related complaints or concerns themselves, so they’re already in the system when you’re ready to see them. This tool reduces your documentation time during the appointment. But most importantly, when the patient is describing their complaints in their words using a kiosk, the doctor is less likely to misinterpret such subjective information.
Kiosks can also be used to complete custom intake forms such as financial agreements, medical histories, or outcomes questionnaires. With just a click of the mouse, patients can finish these forms faster than paper.
Finally, kiosks can be a great way to notify patients of important messages. This function saves both staff time while reducing the chance of missed messages. For example, you could alert the patient of past due amounts or wish them a happy birthday.
Another patient-assisted EHR application that can increase efficiency is using online scheduling services. All your patients need is an internet connection, and they’re able to set up their chiropractic appointments.
No more calling in and having your staff stop what they’re doing to check your schedule, take down the correct spelling of the patient’s name and phone number, repeating everything back to the caller to ensure proper recording. With online scheduling, the patient does all of this, taking more load of your staff.
Online scheduling also offers the advantage of automated appointment reminders, a feature which one study conducted by Software Advice found patients preferred, with 30 percent liking reminders via text and 65 percent wanting reminders via email. In this case, specifically, the survey was directed toward dental patients, but one could argue the same results likely apply to chiropractic.
Digital Intake Forms
An EHR which provides digital intake forms via email also improves efficiency in that the records are paperless. These forms can import quickly into your system without having to go through the time-consuming steps of locating a file, opening it up to ensure it’s the right one, securing the paper inside, and then refiling it.
Digital intake forms also enable patients to complete the necessary paperwork well in advance of their appointment, reducing the likelihood that you’ll be waiting on them to fill in all the information before the first treatment session. And if you like to get an idea of the reason for the visit beforehand so you can get to know the patient better or formulate your questions and treatment options, digital intake forms provide the opportunity for that as well.
Choose an EHR with online patient portals, waiting room kiosks, online scheduling, and digital intake forms, and you can save your chiropractic practice time and money. Just think of what you could do with more of both.