How orthopedic healthcare professionals can make better use of IT to optimize operations
With more patients to see and less time to spend with each one, Ortho practitioners are swamped. Between managing appointments, carefully collecting, storing and examining patient data and trying to increase face-time with patients, Orthopedic surgeons and their teams require bigtime operational support.
Technology is playing a larger and more significant role in how healthcare professionals of all kinds master and optimize the clinic experience. From sophisticated EMR software to strategic IT security solutions, Ortho professionals are more reliant than ever on a dynamic and well integrated IT infrastructure.
While most clinics have accepted this fact, the area where many Ortho practitioners fall short in is learning the best ways to optimize their IT resources. Though most orthopedic practices have technology solutions in place, they rarely are harnessing the full-power of these applications to support practice objectives. This means, most orthopedic practices have some room for improvement when it comes to IT management and optimization.
That’s why we’ve decided to discuss the top three areas where orthopedic practitioners are having trouble. By discussing the every-day challenges that orthopedic practitioners face and providing strategic tips for improvement, you and your team can pave the way for a more optimized and streamlined IT infrastructure.
Healthcare professionals across all specializations would likely agree: scheduling can be a downright nightmare. This fact is especially true for Orthopedic surgeons who are facing a diminishing workforce alongside an influx of patients to see. Between managing weekly appointments and handling long wait lists, scheduling can be a thorn in the side of busy Ortho professionals.
Further, team communication regarding scheduling changes or important patient information can bog down the efficiency of your practice. Think about your current approach to scheduling and team communication. Hopefully, you’ve abandoned the paper schedule by now and are using some kind of software. If you are, have you explored all its capabilities and features? Further, are you getting maximum use out of your communication resources? Or are team members still running up and down the hall with post-it notes, trying to get messages and information to those who need it?
The best tips we can offer here are simple: don’t ignore solutions that are designed to eliminate these tedious issues. Take the time to explore your EMR software to better understand and implement scheduling strategies. Be sure that your software is set up to streamline scheduling processes and fast-track information sharing, securely between team members. Eliminate redundancies by making use of all the optimization features your EMR offers. If you need a hand, reach out to an IT services provider specializing in clinical support.
Every healthcare professional knows that HIPAA compliance and the maintenance of patient confidentiality is critical. Protecting your patient data is of utmost importance in terms of maintaining their trust and upholding compliance. Therefore, every orthopedic clinic needs concrete strategies for securely collecting, storing, and sharing patient data.
What about your practice? Do you have compliance policies on paper and available to all team members who encounter patient data? Are there weak spots in your security and compliance effort? When you share and transmit patient data, can you be sure that its encrypted and HIPAA compliant?
The biggest suggestion we have to offer orthopedic practitioners in terms of patient data and compliance is this: training, training, training. Compliance shouldn’t be left as a ‘managers only’ area of expertise. Make sure your team knows what HIPAA regulations need to be upheld and work together to ensure all your data sharing and storing solutions are proactively set up to maintain compliance. Don’t take a reactive approach and wait for a data crisis to occur – work proactively to understand and better deploy your IT security. Again, when in doubt orthopedic surgeons seeking IT support should consult a professional with clinical experience.
As mentioned, Ortho professionals are incredibly busy. Orthopedic surgeons and their support staffs are juggling more patients than ever before. There’s no way to limit the demand – and why would you want too? However, our guess is that your practice could make use of strategic technology solutions to make a huge difference in the patient experience you offer.
Think about the nature and extent of patient interaction in your office. Do you have the critical information you need for appointments? Are you running back and forth trying to make sure you have everything you need? Do your patients feel heard and taken care of, or do you feel rushed in your interactions with them? Is there a way to better streamline your resources to increase time spent connecting with patients?
Simply put, there will never be a complete and total solution for eliminating your jam-packed schedule. However, there are concrete solutions that can help you save time and eliminate wasted minutes. Are you making use of inter-office communication? Whether through email or instant messaging, connecting with your support staff no longer requires a trip down the hall. Further, are you optimizing patient wait times?
Could support staff be entering key medical history data before the patient is sitting in front of you? Better yet, have you considered secured tablets that patients can log their own data, questions/concerns on before the appointment. Any little way that technology can be used to save time will make a difference, because as you know every second counts.
Don’t Miss Out: Be Sure Your Approach to IT Is Offering Maximum Benefits
Overall, Ortho practices need an IT infrastructure that is going to support their larger goals for patients and staff members. If you have technology solutions in place already, doesn’t it just make sense to spend the time necessary to get the most out of them?
By putting in the time to understand your inefficiencies and weak spots, you’ll have a better chance of re-evaluating your existing tech solutions in hopes of optimizing your entire operational effort. It’s cliché, but the little things really are the most important. Identify the thorns in the side of your clinic experience and look to technology to help you remedy them.
When in doubt, reach out to an Ortho IT services consultant who has experience optimizing technology in your specialization. Orthopedic surgeons looking for IT services should find a consultant willing to provide industry experience and strategic expertise. A strategic consultant can help your Ortho clinic take advantage of all these tech tips and countless others.
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