The pandemic has shuffled the priorities of many healthcare providers.
The pandemic has shuffled the priorities of many healthcare providers. Telemedicine has been more widely adopted and accepted by payers. Supply chain challenges have forced workarounds. Even cash flow and revenue streams are strained as fewer patients are willing to brave an office for anything short of an emergency.
Healthcare teams know that providing improved patient experiences and meeting shifting patient demands requires improved patient access, knowledge sharing, and coordination. But with the looming shortage of workers and tight budgets, it isn't easy to meet those needs.
The good news is that automation - such as digital process automation (DPA) - can vastly improve patient experiences. The bad news is that many providers still face data silos and rigid electronic health record (EHR) systems that don’t mesh with the EHRs of other providers.
Overcoming these challenges may be easier than providers think. Solutions like Salesforce's Health Cloud can provide a hub that breaks down silos and issues with interconnectivity. Even better, Health Cloud can add DPA into the continuum of care, empowering patients and streamlining processes.
DPA in Healthcare
Automation in healthcare isn't science fiction. Instead, it's a fact that providers can leverage - thanks to advancements in digital healthcare and transformation projects.
When it comes to digital process automation, it's best to think of DPA as a marriage of human actions and automation of repetitive and standardized processes. The intention is to alleviate tedious and time-consuming tasks from team members so that they can focus more on patient care.
DPA can streamline some tasks, leaving other processes to be completed by humans when it makes sense. In this way, DPA is a patient experience improvement on its own, allowing teams to focus more on patient care and less on mundane tasks that a computer can efficiently handle.
3 Ways DPA Can Improve the Patient Experience
That being said, there are specific use cases that show the power of DPA in improving patient experiences, including the six we outline below.
Reduce Billing Errors
Provider billing can be complex. There are frequently multiple payment forms involved in any given patient visit, from private insurance to Medicare to co-pays to credits to self-pay. So, it's no wonder that there are errors on medical bills.
The shock is how frequently errors show up. According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, nearly 80% of medical bills reviewed have errors. This is a real problem for providers, playing havoc on cash flow and sucking up hours of staff time.
It's also a problem that severely impacts patients. Whether it's miscoding, filing delays, insurance errors, or overpayment, billing errors can be at best confusing and, at worst, a financial nightmare.
Connecting back-office systems and even APIs to payers and other providers can streamline the billing process, making it easier and clearer for patients. By connecting disparate and legacy systems, Salesforce supports automation so that billing data is consistent across a provider's ecosystem, minimizing errors.
Empower Patient Self-Service
Millennials and other digital natives have made it clear that they expect digital experiences for everything from shopping to banking. Medical providers aren't missing from that list. Roughly 59% of Millennials say they would switch doctors immediately if they find a provider that gives them better online access.
Digital access to records and services like appointment making reduces the load on office staff while improving the patient experience. Self-service portals mean patients can make appointments at any time, day or night, upload insurance cards, fill out forms and request refills and referrals.
Beyond simply offering a portal, providers can speed up and enhance the patient experience with automation. For instance, when a new patient requests an appointment, either online or over the phone, an email can be triggered to send the necessary forms required for intake immediately.
Once completed, that form information can be routed into the various systems required, including billing, CRM, and even EHR. No manual entry is needed, thus reducing the possibility of data input errors. And patients won't need to balance a clipboard on their lap while they try to complete forms in the waiting room.
Taking this a step further, chatbots included as part of the form completion process can provide clarity while minimizing incoming calls. Common questions can be answered using a friendly, informative, and interactive interface, ensuring information is filled out entirely and reducing friction at appointment check-in.
Communication with patients isn’t just nice to have - many patients consider it a requirement. Fifty-seven percent of patients reported that they expect doctors to send texts, emails, or leave voicemail reminding them when it’s time to make an appointment or refill a prescription, while 70% report that they will choose a provider that sends reminders for follow-ups over those that do not.
Not every possible appointment reminder needs to go to every patient, of course, nor does every piece of marketing. For instance, when sending out reminders for mammograms, you’ll likely want to target women within a specific age group as well as those who are at risk.
However, patient marketing is far more nuanced than simply segmenting based on demographics. Patients' conditions, lifestyle, age, general health, and even communication preferences all contribute to marketing segmentation. It's too complex to manage manually.
Instead of choosing between manual segmentation or lack of personalized marketing, DPA can efficiently put patients into appropriate groups and send them the right messaging. Beyond groups, automation can pull together messaging from across a provider’s system to ensure patients receive notification and marketing materials based on individualized triggers, such as future health needs or time since their last appointment. This improves both the patient experience and patient outcomes.
Healthcare providers are overwhelmed and looking at potentially long-term staff shortages. These issues alone will negatively impact patient experiences. It’s possible, however, to overcome those challenges and even create a more empowering and streamlined patient experience with DPA. Salesforce’s Health Cloud brings together a wide range of healthcare systems, from legacy to cloud-based, allowing them to work together to break down silos and share patient data securely and efficiently.
Digital transformation within healthcare doesn’t need to be complicated. Health Cloud brings together your ecosystem to empower patient-driven experiences and increase accuracy and efficiency. Six Consulting has extensive experience bringing Health Cloud into organizations, with expert solution architects, administrators, and developers. Contact us today to get started.
would switch doctors immediately if they find a provider that gives them better online access.
choose a provider that sends reminders for follow-ups over those that do not.
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