First your new patient has to find you. They call to see whether you accept their insurance. Your office manager sets up an appointment and perhaps encourages them to find and use your patient portal for EHR/EMR. They arrive — or don’t show. If they arrive, some member of your team gets them to fill out the new patient packet and creates a physical file, and someone else creates an electronic file and someone once again asks them to use the patient portal.
The appointment includes half a dozen questions that you hear multiple times each day, and you add your notes to the electronic file. Maybe you’ve been asked to encourage people to use the electronic portal, but you might forget — it’s a busy day.
Following the appointment, there’s a conversation about billing and insurance, plus a follow-up appointment. Later on, there might be calls to the nurse or to you, with more frequently asked questions. There might also be lab work, with more common questions and more to add to the EHR/EMR.
The follow up appointment? Another possible no-show. If the patient shows up, you go through the same process, with more insurance and payment issues.
How can your website streamline the process?
- Your patient finds you online, which is where most people go to find a doctor. Since you have a website, it shows up before all those doctor grading sites, and gives you a chance to share your message the way you please.
- Your new patient information is readily available, and new patients can either fill out forms online or print out a PDF. They arrive with their forms filled out, and possibly already in your system.
- Insurance and payment information is on the website, so most new patients know the drill before they arrive.
- Regular patients can pay their bills online.
- Your patient portal isn’t a daunting two-line form on a blank screen — it’s an integral part of your website, and your website encourages visitors to use it every time they visit.
- You can easily send appointment confirmations and reminders, reducing the number of no-shows and allowing you to re-book cancellations.
- Your frequently-asked questions are answered either in a FAQ section or in your blog. You can give a quick answer and a printout or link and feel confident that everyone gets full information even when you’re busy.
- Patients can send questions through your website, and you can easily respond with form answers containing links to your blog — or with a quick personal message.
So much of what you and your staff currently do can be assisted by your website! It’s just a matter of knowing what features you need.