In order to survive and thrive, private practices must adopt and embrace integrated physician and patient workflows
In order to survive and thrive, private practices must adopt and embrace business models designed to meet the increasing complexity of today’s healthcare environment. But how can the independent physician practice compete with the resources of hospitals and large health systems?
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A comprehensive integrated physician and patient workflow is the solution.
The integrated workflow begins with patient acquisition, flows into patient experience and then into case management and revenue cycle management (unless it is outsourced), with all the elements fully connected by a single login and database. Also included are patient retention and health management components, with the flexibility of telemedicine and business intelligence of benchmarking analysis. Here is what the integrated workflow process can look like:
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Next: The three key elements of integration
Let us compare this type of integrated physician and patient workflow to a three-legged stool, with each main application comprising a leg of the stool. The first “leg” has been known historically as practice management. The second leg used to consist of a patient chart, which eventually became an EHR. Last, patient engagement strategies have recently become the third leg of the stool.
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Unfortunately, our stool is not balanced. By partnering with or purchasing solutions from different vendors, practices end up creating an uneven user experience for themselves. The look and feel of applications is different, and the workflow from both the patient and physician perspectives is different. The result is data that doesn’t flow seamlessly between the three applications, or legs.
With an integrated workflow, there is no jumping from application to application. They have one common look and feel, with one common database where all information flows seamlessly back and forth.
Next: The benefits of integration
This approach improves both the patient and physician experience. Patients are more engaged in their own care and the physician has more time to devote to it. It also aligns with the trend toward value-based care, which includes creating a better patient experience and making patients more responsible for maintaining their health. Other benefits of an integrated workflow include:
Are you integrated?
With the numerous benefits afforded to the physician and patient by an integrated workflow, one would think all practices would have adopted it by now. However, many physicians are not even aware that such opportunities exist. Additionally, having family members or an office manager who lacks knowledge of technology run a practice’s billing department makes the awareness and education process even more challenging.
Nevertheless, integrated physician and patient workflow has become vital for practices who seek to thrive in the complex healthcare environment. It makes the physician’s life more manageable and practicing medicine more fulfilling and enjoyable while enhancing the provider’s ability to deliver a high level of patient care. If the practice is healthy, the patient will be as well.
Raul Villar, MBA, is CEO of AdvancedMD, a provider of cloud-based solutions.