The 6 technologies that can most help practices, according to MGMA study

Doctor at desk with notes, smartphone, tablet, computer, and stethoscope
From patient portals to patient check-in systems, technology is helping physician practices engage patients and improve workflow. (Getty Images/cyano66)

Six technologies have had the most positive impact on the operation of physician practices.

At a time when increased patient consumerism encourages healthcare practices to enhance their technological capabilities, a report by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in partnership with Cedar, a patient payment and engagement platform, looked at the changes that made the biggest difference in improving patient engagement and practice workflow.

The report identified the following technologies:

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According to the report, 70% of healthcare leaders plan to adopt these technologies in 2019 to make their practices more efficient. The report was compiled based on an online survey and follow-up interviews of healthcare leaders who had implemented patient-focused technology in the last five years.

RELATED: Industry Voices—Want to improve the patient experience? Start by meeting patients where they spend their digital lives

Physicians can build closer relationships with patients when practices use interactions such as portal messaging or digitize filling out forms, freeing up more time for effective patient care, the report said.

The report also points out that rising costs of healthcare, especially administrative costs, can be mitigated with the use of appropriate technology. For instance, implementing check-in technologies that make sense for a practice’s patient demographics can reduce the administrative burdens and delays of processing paperwork and simultaneously improve the patient experience, the report said.

“In order to truly prioritize the patient, delivering a more consumer-friendly experience must extend across the entire patient journey—from checking in for an appointment to the clinical encounter to bill payment. This personalization starts with data and technology,” Florian Otto, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Cedar, said in an announcement.

Practice leaders can get started making technological improvements with the following five steps:

  1. Examine the current environment to uncover opportunities for automation.
  2. Review existing technologies to determine how they address patient engagement challenges.
  3. Uncover best practices and learn from peers.
  4. Identify the top three “easy wins” to pursue to achieve greater patient engagement through technology.
  5. Start the conversation among stakeholders and initiate change in a practice.

“In today’s healthcare environment where practice workflow and patient experience are paramount, the use of technology is more instrumental than ever in helping providers enhance operations and overall patient care,” said Halee Fischer-Wright, M.D., president and CEO of MGMA.

“Building a data platform utilizing technologies like patient portals, automated appointment reminder systems, and digital payment options helps practices improve patient engagement and allows providers to focus on what they do best—care for people.”

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