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    The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders if they will adopt technology to make their practice more efficient in 2019. Of the 1,050 applicable responses, 70% said yes, 19% were unsure and the remaining 11% said no. This poll was conducted on Nov. 27, 2018.

    Five of the areas most frequently identified by respondents represent patient-focused technology including: automated reminder systems, kiosks and iPad/tablet-style check-in options, patient portal, telehealth and new/updated EHR.
    These results are interesting, yet not surprising.
    Each of the five patient-focused technologies identified in the survey are deployed to ensure a positive patient experience and ease of access.

    • Kiosk/tablet check-in. Whether it’s a mobile app, a kiosk in the reception area or a tablet solution, leveraging technology dramatically streamlines the check-in process. Mobile apps allow for offsite, pre-visit check-in and payment of co-pays. Kiosks enable self-service and replicate what we’ve come to expect at airports, grocery stores, Walmart and even Amazon’s new stores. The iPad allows patients to perform data entry, reduces front desk staff workload and gives patients the option to pay the co-pay right on the tablet. This solution meets patient expectations, decreases wait times, reduces workload on the front desk staff and distributes the check-in process across all patients, rather than just two or three front desk staff. This is a win for everybody.
    • Patient portal. Patients use the portal to pay bills, communicate with the practice and their providers, access their medical records, refill prescriptions and check test results. Keys to success include promoting the portal within your office, ensuring that your staff are fully trained on the use of the portal. Provide printed materials to distribute to patients, promoting its advantages and how to use it. Encourage provider/patient discussion so they understand its importance. Finally, consider showcasing the portal through demonstrations.
    • Automated reminder system. You can make reservations and other appointments online, so why not offer the same feature to your patients? A May 22 MGMA Stat data story by MGMA Consultant Nick Fabrizio, PhD, FACMPE, FACHE offers tips on text appointment reminders and a member exclusive article delves into the topic of text for appointment reminder and patient scheduling success.
    • Telehealth. There is a distinction between telehealth and telemedicine. Telehealth refers to a broader array of options including education, continuing medical education, administrative meetings, etc. Telemedicine refers to the delivery of clinical services, often used for managing chronic conditions over long distances, follow-up visits, etc. This area is yet to be fully developed. Opportunities abound and the innovative practice can lead the way.
    • New/upgraded EHR. Although an EHR can make your practice more efficient, properly and effectively deploying it is an important component of providing the highest level of medical care and ensuring the ability to connect with providers throughout your community. Deploying the EHR allows for better coordinated care throughout the community allowing providers to share timely accurate information electronically. This facilitates ease or transmission for prescribing, sharing of diagnostic testing results and ultimately reduces the cost of paper charts and paperwork.

    Finally, here are some key takeaways:

    1. Ensure that technology is part of your practice’s vision, strategic plan and has the support and buy-in of physician leadership.
    2. Plan the deployment of any technology carefully. Allow for sufficient training, measured deployment and adoption and ongoing assessment of its effectiveness.
    3. Know your vendor well. Trust but verify promises made. Hold your vendor accountable.
    4. Make certain that you have a high level of vendor support for your new technology, and that you have trained staff who can troubleshoot issues when necessary.

    Innovate and imagine what can be. Leverage technology to help your practice become more efficient and provide a more pleasurable experience for your patients.
    MGMA Stat is a national poll that addresses practice management issues, the impact of new legislation and related topics. Participation is open to all healthcare leaders. See results of other polls and information on how to participate in MGMA Stat.

    Additional resources:

    Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE
    MGMA Consulting



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