Relieve stress, staff shortages by improving your chiropractic patient portal

Some look at a chiropractic patient portal as simply a record-keeping device, but several portal features can reduce stress on office staff

The health care industry remains short of workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only can a lack of staff impact the ability to provide quality patient care, but it also increases inner-office stress without a top-line chiropractic patients portal automating your practice.

Chiropractic patients still call to ask questions and schedule appointments, their files still need to be updated after each visit, and reimbursement still needs to be sought to keep an office running. What happens when you’re facing a staffing shortage, making it difficult to stay on top of all these tasks and increasing your stress levels at the same time? One option is to improve your patient portal.

How a chiropractic patient portal can relieve staffing shortages

Some look at a chiropractic patient portal as simply a record-keeping device, or a place where patients can go to look at their private health care information. However, several portal features can reduce stress on office staff, providing them more time to handle other workplace functions and decreasing their interruptions.

For example, a chiropractic patient portal that enables patients to schedule their own appointments helps reduce the number of phone calls received for the same purpose. If the portal also sends appointment reminders via email or text, this reduces the workload of office staff even more. An integrative review of 20 studies adds that the use of an appointment notification system provides the additional benefit of reducing no-show rates by five to 10%.

Also consider how much time your staff spends inputting new patient information into your electronic health record (EHR) system. A portal that enables patients to input this data themselves streamlines the process. It also reduces the risk of the information being transferred incorrectly from a written form to the EHR.

If the portal is set up to collect payments, it can reduce office workload further while providing patients greater convenience for settling their portion of the bill. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s 2020 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice reveals that U.S. consumers make a majority of their payments with a debit, credit, or prepaid card. Utilizing a patient portal that offers this ability aligns with these preferences.

Other ways that a higher level of portal functions can relieve pressure on chiropractic staff include:

  • Offering the patient the ability to communicate directly with the chiropractic provider via a secure message center, reducing phone calls and alleviating the need for office staff to write down and deliver the message, sometimes even negating their need to respond with another phone call to deliver the answer
  • Enabling the patient to review their health summary, appointment notes, and health-related recommendations, reducing follow-up questions to review or clarify what occurred or what they were told during the treatment session
  • Providing new patients the opportunity to complete all of their intake forms online (such as HIPAA waivers), eliminating the time required by staff to copy and file paper forms, and improving efficiency during a new patient appointment

Factors to consider when improving your patient portal

Depending on the capabilities of your current chiropractic patient portal, implementing improvements may be as simple as clicking a button or asking your provider to add certain features. If your options are limited or your portal is out of date, securing a new system may be necessary for making these improvements.

Either way, factors to consider include the cost of the upgrade, the amount of work required by your current staff to support the improvement (if any), and how you intend to notify your patients of these enhanced changes.

If you’re not sure which features would offer the most benefits, talk to your patients. Ask what they would like the patient portal to do or how it could be improved to enable them to handle more of their healthcare needs without having to call in or rely on your staff.

Also ask your staff which features, if implemented, would save them the most time. Getting their input shows that you’re taking steps to reduce their workload, which may entice them to stay on board as relief is in sight. This can help reduce staffing shortages before they start, also reducing your stress.

 



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