Just like every industry, the healthcare sector is constantly in the process of adapting to new, emerging technologies and applying them to improve services and efficiency. While newly established clinics may be at the forefront of this progress, you might feel that yours is lagging behind somewhat.
When running a private clinic, it’s essential to make sure you’re staying up-to-date and competitive. Here are a few ways to modernize your practice.
First of all, take advantage of apps. There are well over 1000 medical and healthcare apps on the iTunes store alone. These interactive tools have massive potential for improving your standards of care and making communication with your patients a little more seamless.
From comprehensive self-diagnosis tools to handy patient databases to the best telemedicine software, there are countless applications which are making life easier for both doctors and patients. Whether you need to improve efficiency at your clinic or want to keep your patients more informed, it won’t take long for you to find an app for it.
For example, there are many apps out there which are effectively digital versions of a desk reference. It will give you, your staff and your patients basic information about various different medicines, as well as important warnings about combining medications, and the approved doses for people of different ages. Have a browse of some apps and reviews, and consider what they have to offer your practice.
My next point still focusses on software, but a specific kind: patient engagement systems. If your clinic hasn’t already switched over to a patient engagement system, then it needs to very soon! These systems will allow you to combine various communication channels into one streamlined system, making it easier to connect with your patients before, during and after their appointments.
If you’re still cramming all the relevant information about a patient’s condition into their appointment times, then their experience is going to suffer. They might be too polite to mention it, or unaware that there are better systems out there, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re delivering sub-standard level of care by being stuck in your ways!
When you’re able to offer encouragement and guidance to your patients in between their visits to your clinic, they’ll be more likely to follow their course of treatment, and generally feel like they’re being cared for to a better standard.
Next, we have the systems known as EHR and EMR. If you weren’t already aware, these stand for “Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records”. This technology is being applied in private clinics all over the world, allowing individual patients to access their medical records at any time, and play a bigger role in their own healthcare.
You, along with many other doctors, may think that most patients won’t be all that interested in reading off doses and how their condition is getting better or worse. However, it’s been found that making this little change can help to improve patient satisfaction levels massively.
Clinic workflows can also be improved here and there by the introduction of a good EMR system. Patients will occasionally use this kind of technology to pick out errors in their records, and inform their doctors about it before it causes any kind of problem in their workflow.
Today, the EHR and EMR niche is huge, and you should be able to find software models which can be integrated seamlessly with your existing records, creating a much more streamlined, detailed and effective database.
Finally, social media. Although this isn’t exactly cutting-edge or exclusively medical, it’s still a technological niche and one that you can’t afford to ignore. Every kind of business in the world, even within the health industry and other “bare necessities” niches, is influenced by the popularity and ever-changing trends of social media.
Roughly four in ten people have said that social media would affect their choice of a doctor, medical facility or hospital. The proportion is only slightly less when it comes to people who will communicate with other patients over social media sites, and share information about their health.
This isn’t something that’s tied exclusively to the medical sector. These days, if someone has a notably good or bad experience with a service, it’s pretty likely that they’ll broadcast the story to the hundreds of people on their friends or followers list.
You need to have a professional social media presence, and keep tabs on wherever your clinic is being mentioned. Thank people for complements, answer queries as soon as possible, and approach complaints in a calm and apologetic manner.