The healthcare industry is changing. That’s not news. But the rate of change is accelerating. That’s something to think about. What worked yesterday may not work today. What used to delight patients, they now expect. What they once appreciated, now only causes them to yawn. You want to better serve your patients, but how?
This leaves physician offices, clinics, and healthcare organizations scrambling to keep up as they attempt to figure out how to better serve their patients through the improved provision of healthcare. As providers seek to adapt to this ever-changing environment, they may look at upgrading equipment, fine-tuning office procedures, and enhancing their in-person dealings.
These are the big three areas to address, but there are other considerations too. Look at ways to increase access, expand availability, and provide innovative interaction.
Many healthcare providers see patients about 40 hours a week. That’s less than one quarter of a week’s 168 hours. Some facilities offer extended hours in the early evening or provide some limited access over the weekend.
Even so that still falls short of around-the-clock accessibility, which usually gets shuffled off to the ER. Though it’s not practical to suddenly jump to an always-open mentality, seek ways to increase patient access or provide the appearance of expanded access. This isn’t to suggest being disingenuous about accessibility. Instead it’s a gentle nudge to be creative.
What steps can you do to effectively increase access to your practice or clinic and better serve your patients?
Similar to access is availability. Though they may seem like the same thing, there’s a subtle difference. You can be available without being accessible. Yes, it’s true.
Access implies an in-office contact, whereas availability looks at the myriad of connection options patients can use to communicate with their healthcare providers to empower them to move forward on their healthcare journey. Communication experts call these options channels.
Common channels include the telephone, email, texting, and social media. While you would never offer a diagnosis over social media or send protected health information (PHI) in an unsecure text message, you can use these channels to increase your availability to patients. In this, the telephone remains the key communication channel to remotely deal with healthcare concerns.
How can you expand your use of communication channels to better serve your patients by increasing your availability to them?
Provide Innovative Interaction
Now consider what you can do beyond access and availability. This is where true innovation comes in. Look at your patients’ needs and ask “what if” questions. Take some time with your staff to do some brainstorming. While not every idea will connect with a practical enhancement—in fact, most won’t—a few will. Grab onto those gems and implement them for your patients’ benefit.
What’s one thing you can do at your healthcare organization to improve the level of healthcare that you offer to better serve your patients, be it directly or indirectly?
The Next Step
As you look at ways to increase access, expand availability, and provide innovative interaction in your healthcare practice or clinic, keep your medical answering service in mind. Let them know how they can help you improve the overall level of care you provide to your patients. The obvious areas correlate to the telephone. If it relates to a phone call, they can help you better serve your patients. They can also assist with other communication channels as well. Beyond that look for non-medical functions you can move from your office staff to your ever-ready healthcare answering service.
Learn how medical answering service from MedConnectUSA can help your practice, clinic, or facility. Then get a free quote to discover how affordable their healthcare communication services are. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer and call center authority.