The new year is quickly approaching us, and with a new year comes new resolutions. We’ve got our resolution already: help more clinics adopt and implement the technology they need to maximize their success in 2020. Last week, we chatted with Dr. Medhavi Jogi of Houston Thyroid & Endocrine Specialists and Ben Wobker of Lake Washington Physical Therapy about what it means to be a “smart clinic,” how they implement impactful technology at their clinics, and what they expect to see in 2020. Our podcast is embedded here, but for extra convenience, we’ve recapped it. Let’s dive into the key takeaways!
WHAT IS A SMART CLINIC, ANYWAY?
We wanted to talk about how clinics across the country are finding innovative solutions to become smarter, faster, and more impactful. This can range from new workflows they’ve implemented to become increasingly patient-centered to technology solutions they’ve adopted to help increase efficiency and boost clinical outcomes. We asked Dr. Jogi and Ben for their input.
Dr. Jogi explained that his own personal definition of a smart clinic has changed over time. A few years ago, he would’ve said it was a clinic that utilizes the latest and greatest advances in technology to stay ahead of the curve, implementing every new technology. But now, he’s realized that each clinic must tailor their technology choices to the patient population they’re attempting to reach and the specific goals they hope to accomplish via technology. So he’s revised his definition to “a clinic utilizing technology in a way that makes it easier for patients to access care and communicate with [their] office.”
Ben agrees wholeheartedly, adding that a smart clinic’s solutions should “solve the pain points of clinicians and staff simultaneously, bringing as many patients into the fold as possible without alienating people due to technological shortcomings or economic barriers.” In short: a smart clinic helps increase patient access, benefitting both patients and the clinics through the seamless integration of technological solutions and patient-centered workflows.
HAPPIER STAFF, HAPPIER PATIENTS
For both Dr. Jogi and Ben, some of the most eager proponents of smart clinic solutions have been their front desk staff. But getting staff buy-in didn’t happen overnight; both Ben and Dr. Jogi agree that to successfully introduce new technology into a practice, the administrative staff needs to be fully convinced of its efficacy. But once Luma Health was implemented, staff and patients alike loved the benefits it brought.
Initially, the staff at LWPT had a patient list that was about 200 names long each day, and they would have to manually call each patient to confirm appointments or remind them of an upcoming appointment. The introduction of Luma Health helped immediately reduce the cancellation rate by 1.5%, in itself a significant boost in revenue for the clinic, and the no-show rate has continued to drop. LWPT was also booked about 3 weeks out, meaning that Luma Health was essential in helping them get people in quicker to fill cancelled spots.
Ben explained that online scheduling has made it much easier to provide patients with the top-quality customer service they expect. In the past, when the front desk was tied up on the phone, it hurt face-to-face communication with patients and made it harder to establish personal contact. But automated scheduling prevents the front office from being consumed by endless games of phone tag, making it seamless and low-effort for patients to schedule appointments. Both Dr. Jogi and Ben agree that while the term “automated” can sound cold and impersonal, its effects are quite the opposite: automation frees up administrative time, thereby allowing staff to focus on other key parts of the patient experience. (Check out our blog debunking common myths about automation!)
DRIVING ACCESS TO CARE
The use of text messages to fill appointment slots is another key component in driving access to care: now, patients can easily confirm appointments before, during, or after work hours without needing to step out and find a good time to call. Dr. Jogi explains that he made the decision to transition to an SMS-based approach after experimenting with patient portals as his patient engagement solution. According to Dr. Jogi, patient portals didn’t work for him, and had a very low use and response rate, especially compared to text messages. After making the switch to a mobile-first approach, he’s never looked back.
Meanwhile, for Ben, adopting smart-clinic technology has helped increase patient satisfaction by making their operations more transparent. Online scheduling allows patients visibility into all of their providers’ open slots, giving them peace of mind that they will be able to book an appointment. Plus, it offers them flexibility, accommodating patients’ busy schedules to get them to the care they need. These improvements translate to a huge win-win situation for patients and clinics alike.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020 — AND BEYOND
Part of being a smart clinic means that you’re constantly looking to continue streamlining operations and improving the patient experience at your practice. Dr. Jogi and Ben outlined for us a few goals that they’re hoping to accomplish with Luma Health in this upcoming year.
Dr. Jogi is focusing on telehealth, and is exploring how he can use telehealth solutions to make it easier for patients to see their providers. As increasingly large companies are entering the healthcare fields, including nontraditional companies such as Amazon and Walmart, Dr. Jogi acknowledges that their practice needs to keep up with big competition. Telehealth is a great way to do that, as it keeps costs down while still allowing for effective communication with patients.
For his part, Ben is hoping to see further advances in the messaging systems that are available to physical therapists. He’d like to integrate exercise programs, activity monitors, and more into the fold so that therapists can continue to connect with and engage patients. More generally, he hopes to help increase health literacy and educate patients so that they’re empowered to take control of their own health. The healthcare industry can be complicated and intimidating, with lots of confusing jargon and insurance rules, and Ben wants to help patients navigate those waters.
Being a smart clinic entails constant innovation, but it also means working smarter, not harder. To do so, it’s imperative to listen to patients and figure out ways to address their specific needs through technology. We’re glad Dr. Jogi and Ben were able to come on our podcast and share their unique insights. Be sure to listen to the podcast to dive even deeper into all things smart clinics.
Request a demo to see how you can implement impactful technology at your clinic and maximize your success in the new year!