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Medical office
that improves
patient experiences 

Author: Megan Williams

Medical office technology has come a long way in a short amount of time.

Enterprise options like artificial intelligence (AI) and business intelligence (BI) that used to be limited to hospitals, health systems and large group practices have become significantly more accessible in recent years—and smaller practices stand to benefit.

Whether you're a primary care physician, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, therapist or another practitioner, your practice can take advantage of medical technology that improves patient experience—and strengthens your practice in turn.

The challenges with older medical office technology

The focus on improving the patient experience is a relatively new phenomenon. It's new enough that even some recent technology options miss the potential to break down the long-standing silos that hinder the patient experience. Medical office technology that improves patient experience might be new to your practice, but the potential is considerable. And larger hospitals and health systems can serve as inspiration for how to center patients in your tech strategy.

Medical office technology that improves patient experience

The benefits of implementing new technology aren't limited to the back office. Patients, clinicians, staff and your organization as a whole will see improvements from modern medical office technology.

Curbside and contactless check-in and the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gotten its chance to shine during the pandemic. The IoT powers concepts like "the hospital at home" and telehealth efforts, keeping patients and staff safe while freeing up valuable resources. But the potential runs deeper, especially in driving incremental improvements to the patient experience.

Practices can employ medical office technology like the IoT, Wi-Fi and SD-WLAN to enable geofencing and contactless check-in. With these technologies in place, patients can more easily complete forms, and your practice can conveniently distribute post-visit materials to them. As a result, patients enjoy a local healthcare experience that's in line with consumer experiences in retail, entertainment and dining.

An enhanced patient experience through advanced CRM

Many smaller practices struggle to get a solid understanding of what the patient experience is and what it involves. Modern customer relationship management (CRM) software can change that by giving local practices power and functionality that used to only be available at the enterprise level.

The modern CRM offers portals that allow patients to schedule appointments, communicate with providers, manage their medications and pay their bills. This software also supports campaign management that enables population health initiatives—an area of untapped value for both patients and your medical practice as value-based care contracts and accountable care organization (ACO) relationships become more common. These systems can integrate into other BI applications and practice management software to support alignment in an increasingly complex tech environment.

Telehealth in the long term

Telehealth has been a lifeline for healthcare providers of all sizes, but as the pandemic has leveled out, many practice leaders are reevaluating the role medical technology should play in a patient-centered future. The world of dentistry (which has faced some of the most frustrating challenges during the pandemic) offers some guidance, with many practices using telehealth for online consultations, emergency screenings and medication management.

As a new normal emerges, smaller practices can leverage teleservices like video and phone conferences to reach less mobile patient populations, serve patients in remote areas and even expand practices into wider geographic territories.

AI and BI technology that fits

Smaller practices are standing at the edge of a new era of AI and BI. These technologies are scaled to work in non-enterprise scenarios and can bring your patients and staff an improved experience.

While healthcare AI has seen some of its most promising use cases in the hospital revenue cycle, smaller practices can also take advantage of AI. The American Medical Association outlines multiple ways primary care can apply artificial intelligence, including digital health coaching for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and device integration to leverage the wearables your patients are most interested in. And AI can be used for population health initiatives, helping you manage social determinants of health while closing care gaps and optimizing performance under Medicare quality payment programs.

When planned correctly, these efforts will feed into next gen BI that uses 5G technology. 5G can allow smaller practices to leverage business intelligence that supports advanced supply chain management, optimizes patient flow and utilization, and improves staff allocation while reducing patient wait times.

To find inspiration for your own medical office technology that improves patient experience, explore how large hospitals have evolved their networking.