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Select medical software based on your practice’s life cycle stage

Medical Economics JournalMedical Economics October 2022 edition
Volume 99
Issue 10

Though providers probably can use any type of medical software, the financial resources they are able to invest in medical solutions differ significantly based on the type of practice.

Diverse medical software has become essential for the efficient operation of any health care provider, be it a cross-state health care network or a small private practice. Though providers probably can use any type of medical software, the financial resources they are able to invest in medical solutions differ significantly based on the type of practice.

There are numerous classifications of health care providers. This article uses the one that divides providers into groups depending on the life cycle stage the clinic is at the given moment. According to this classification, medical providers fall into three groups:

  • Beginners
  • Growing clinics
  • Well-established providers

Health care providers are business entities, so their life cycle, like that of any business, consists of the early stage or launch, growth and maturity. At each stage, providers have different priorities and goals, and the choice of medical software solutions should be made accordingly.

Medical software for beginners

The launch phase can be tough. At this stage, the profits are usually low and providers may even incur losses. Hence, they need tools that enable efficient work at this point, such as an electronic health records (EHR) solution, a patient scheduling tool and billing software. Those tools can make a solid foundation for any clinical operation.

An EHR stores patient health data, including medical histories, lab data, and more. This information is paramount for accurate diagnostics. Scheduling solutions allow providers to coordinate patients’ appointments with clinicians’ schedules and the available rooms, thus preventing confusion and ensuring timeand cost efficiency. Billing software automates billing and filing insurance claims and helps manage them. Such software also can inform users about upcoming deadlines on document submission or payments.

Medical software for growing clinics

At the stage when the profits are stable, providers aim at increasing their customer base. This is when mobile technologies may be of help. As of 2021, 85% of the U.S. population own a smartphone. This means medical providers can consider integrating some engaging mobile apps in their practice. The experts recommend starting with a mobile-friendly patient portal, as it allows providers to build strong relationships with their patients.

Using the portal, a patient can view, download, and send their health information to providers. They also can suggest edits to their treatment and medication plans, which improves their adherence. Although patients manage their health independently, doctors can supervise.

Experts recommend setting up a telemedicine solution after launching a portal. Telemedicine tools helped medical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic offer an opportunity to deliver care without virus exposure. Though the crisis is subsiding, telemedicine tools remain relevant. They can be valid solutions for nonurgent care provision for busy professionals, chronic-condition patients, and patients in remote or rural locations.

Medical software for well-established providers

At the final stage, all clinical processes are up and running. However, their course is not always smooth and trouble-free, so there is a need for process optimization. Direct messaging solutions and speech recognition software can speed up clinical processes and even reduce clinicians’ burnout rate. According to results of a recent physicians poll by Medical Economics®, approximately 80% of respondents are dealing with burnout. Curiously, it’s not the pandemic that is to blame here. Instead, the respondents said, burnout was caused by the complexity of administrative tasks. So how can technology help?

Direct messaging solutions ensure secure health data transmission across a private network run by a Health Information Service Provider. Health care providers use direct secure messaging to send referrals, transfer patient care plans, and communicate with patients. Such tools are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and support confidentiality of patient-doctor communication. Those tools save clinicians a lot of time and effort in ensuring secure data sharing.

Speech recognition software, the tools transform speech into text, allows clinicians to save time on tasks such as taking patient notes.

Well-informed decision-making is often the key success factor in health care, and analytics solutions can bring this process to a new level. Although many tools are optional for beginners, they can be a game changer for well-established providers.

Inga Shugalo is a health care industry analyst with Itransition. Send your technology questions to medec@mjhlifesciences.com.

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