Small businesses can learn a thing or two about streamlining business operations from healthcare providers who are already harnessing online technology to improve their workflow and maximize office productivity.
Today there are many ways you can use the Internet as a tool to improve business productivity and customer reach. From Facebook promotions and paid advertising to online shopping carts and mobile technology, the ways in which you can better target new leads and service your client base on the Web is always changing and improving.
Efficiency is key when it comes to operating a successful business. Take a medical practice, for instance. Designed and used properly, a website and well-rounded online presence can improve how effectively and efficiently a physician’s office administers care, easing the workload for both the doctor and the front office and allocating more time to delivering quality care to patients.
Take a look at how physicians are utilizing a variety of online tools to streamline everyday tasks.
Convenient online forms save both patients and office staff time. When new patient registration forms can be downloaded online and completed in advance, first visit registration procedures are expedited, allowing for more time with the physician and less time completing paperwork in the waiting room. The same can be said for prescription renewals. Previously, if a patient needed to request prescription refills, they would have to call the office to speak to a staff person. With a website, patients are given the easy ability to request prescription orders simply by filling out a form on the website and submitting it to the office—even after office hours.
Similarly, web-based contact forms also enable patients to communicate with the doctor, nurses and staff, providing answers to questions or concerns in a timely fashion. This can significantly cut down on calls to the office and time spent answering questions over the phone.
Scheduling woes can be minimized with online appointment requesting accessible 24/7 from a doctor’s website. Patients can simply schedule visits from their work computer, home computer or even mobile device, reducing front office call times. Additionally, some practices offer patients the ability to sign up for automated texts or email appointment reminders. Patients are saved from missing an important appointment, the practice saves time and money with fewer visits cancelled or missed at the last minute, and front desk staff spends fewer hours on the phone confirming appointments.
As the number of people using smartphones and tablets to access the Web rises, it is becoming increasingly essential for healthcare providers to have a mobile presence. A website built specifically for smartphones and tablets provides visitors with an optimal user experience when they arrive to the practice’s site from their mobile browser. With mobile-specific functions, such as one-click calling, appointment requesting and instant directions, existing and potential patients will have a much easier time finding the information they need on their phones to contact the office, request an appointment and communicate with their physician about their health.
Online educational materials, such as comprehensive libraries, blogs or videos are great ways to inform potential patients about the services offered, thus increasing treatment awareness and case acceptance. Since patients are naturally concerned about the factors that influence their health, a website can also play a critical role in informing patients to improve their level of comfort and bridge any chasm of uncertainty they may have about a procedure. And since educated patients are better equipped to make decisions about their health, physicians spend less time providing basic information to patients during appointments when the patient has already obtained the information from the site.
Whether a patient needs to contact the office, request prescription renewals, download post-op instructions or schedule an appointment—all requests can be easily accomplished through the website. These applications save time, keep the office running smoothing and efficiently, and most importantly, improve communication with patients.
There are many web-based tools out there that a company can use to automate tasks and free up staff time that can be used to improve other areas of the business. How has your website helped your business boost productivity and improve workflow? How would you like to see companies become more efficient online?
Kaitlyn Ytterberg is a writer for Officite, a leading provider of websites and online marketing for the medical community. Officite specializes in Internet marketing and practice website design for all healthcare specialties, including dentists, midwives and gastroenterologists. Services span from SEO and social media to reputation management, blogging and mobile websites. Learn more http://www.officite.com.