Kingsley Hollis, Head of Business Development explains how technology can help you exceed patients’ expectations.
With a record number of patients now on the waiting list for NHS hospital treatment, it is probable that people who might not have previously contemplated going private will think again. Laing Buisson’s recent report into the UK Self-Pay market found evidence of heightened interest in private treatment across the country.
At the same time, the private sector cannot simply expect patients to come to them. As Laing Buisson put it: “practitioners need a compelling and attractive reason for patients to choose them and – more importantly – speak positively about their experience to friends and family.
Technology has a key role to play here, offer a high-quality level of service that will impress new patients and attract word of mouth recommendations. Here are five ways that Healthcode’s technology can help you exceed patients’ expectations:
1. Efficient appointment booking
Receptionists can instantly see which practitioners are active on a specific day across all treatment sites, as well as available slots. This means they can reserve a suitable appointment there and then, rather than having to check and call the patient back. If nothing is available at the patient’s preferred time, they can be added to a waiting list and there will be an automatic alert if the slot becomes free. Once an appointment is made, the system can generate confirmation letters, emails or texts with all the information that patients need. And when a patient presents for their appointment, their status on the system can be updated to ‘arrived’ so the practitioner is aware.
2. Choice and convenience
Other people would rather use an online booking site to research private health services and book an appointment. But until recently, central appointment booking has not been possible because there was no way to synchronise the mass of data – providers, services, practitioners and appointment slots – and the many different booking systems.
Healthcode’s online appointment booking solution, available in a prototype version soon, is the hidden engine room which powers the appointment booking process by enabling diverse service providers to connect and exchange information in real time. Practitioners and other providers will be able to publish their services and synchronise availability with multiple booking websites.
Online appointment booking will make private healthcare more accessible, increasing its appeal. For the first time, it will be possible to use a single booking application to search multiple healthcare organisations, using different criteria and filters to find the service that meets patients’ needs and then make an appointment at a convenient time and location.
3. Reassurance about private medical insurance
While self-pay market is growing, the majority of patients will still have private medical cover although not all will have their membership details to hand when they contact your practice.
Healthcode’s insurer membership look-up feature enables you to put patients’ minds at rest that they have valid insurance cover by matching their details against participating insurers’ databases. This simple and secure online check eliminates the need for multiple telephone calls and also ensures your practice has the correct details on its own system from the outset.
4. Ensuring continuity of care
Whether you are ordering diagnostic services, arranging for a patient to be admitted for surgery or discussing their case in a multi-disciplinary team meeting, it is essential that you provide relevant information in a timely and secure way.
Regular email is inherently insecure and should never be used to send identifiable patient information. By contrast, Healthcode’s secure messaging and file sharing services (healthDrive) are encrypted, enabling you to share sensitive information with individuals or specifically created contact groups on our global directory of practitioners, private hospitals and PMIs, without compromising patient privacy. This enables you to co-ordinate patient treatment effectively and ensure continuity of care when patients transfer to other healthcare settings.
5. Efficient billing
The rise in self-funded healthcare means practices need to consider how best to collect payment from patients, while patients themselves expect to be billed promptly and have a stress-free way to pay.
In partnership with the patientzone online payment platform, Healthcode offer a secure online patient e-billing and payment service for you to charge for self-funded care and PMI shortfalls. Once signed-up with the patientzone service, you can create patient bills in ePractice and send them through to patientzone. Patientzone then notifies patients by email or text that they have received a bill which they can access and pay securely online. Within thirty minutes, their payment is automatically reconciled (in ePractice plans with payment recording) and you also receive notification of payment by email or text.
This online patient billing solution meets your data protection obligations and is more efficient than sending a paper bill in the post. It is a more cost-effective way to implement online payment as there is no need to arrange merchant accounts or pay credit card processing fees. Most importantly from a patient perspective, the process is seamless, secure and convenient and they have the reassurance of payment confirmation so they can focus on their recovery.
Want to know more?
To find out how ePractice can help your business, contact our Business Development team.