The Future of Healthcare Is Digital: 5 Reasons to Bring Your Practice Online

As the world screeched to halt in an attempt to curb the spread of a novel coronavirus, the healthcare industry soldiered on, confronting its own set of unique challenges. Increasing patient volumes, new public safety concerns and a shifting regulatory landscape forced providers to quickly adopt more efficient (and safer) ways of conducting business. 

Unlike organizations in other sectors, closing up shop to adjust strategy or train staff for remote work wasn’t an option for essential healthcare services. Life-saving solutions—like pop-up testing sites, virtual visits and online appointment scheduling—were adopted with unprecedented speed. 

But providers that have not yet implemented the infrastructure to support a digital practice are still struggling to find ways to improve the patient experience and increase operational efficiency. Every day, time and money are lost due to inefficient manual and paper-based processes. The new, digital future of healthcare promises providers and patients a safer, more productive practice. It’s time to get on board.

Why should you digitize your healthcare practice?

One of the biggest takeaways of the COVID economy is that consumers are now accustomed to the ease and speed at which the digital market moves. Healthcare practitioners that wish to stay competitive are faced with a choice: embrace these evolving patients expectations or risk being left behind. 

Freeing your practice from time-consuming manual processes will prepare you for the digital future of healthcare while providing your patients with a safer, simpler and more personalized healthcare experience. 

Here are five reasons you should bring your healthcare services online. 

1. Touchless is faster and safer

COVID-19 safety precautions have made touchless service a requirement for any modern healthcare organization. Contactless scheduling, virtual visits, and online sign-in to minimize in-office wait times are just a few of the ways that practitioners are providing patients with a safer environment to get care—one that will continue to have relevancy and value long after the pandemic is behind us.

Moreover, by bringing administrative work online, a fully touchless healthcare system streamlines every step in the patient journey—from pre-appointment registration to payment. As a result, people get the critical care they require and healthcare professionals get the patient information they need from intake forms, post-visit surveys and more without getting bogged down in manual processes. 

2. Industry-leading customer service starts online

The patient-provider relationship is grounded in trust—and patients need to feel like they’re more than just another number through the door. New, digital healthcare solutions offer enhanced, around-the-clock communication and care. 

For instance, the digitization of manual processes enables patients, employees and clinicians to complete necessary forms and agreements from the convenience of their phone, computer or tablet—which saves time, reduces errors and creates an easier, more-secure experience for all parties. 

Introducing patient portals to your healthcare practice is another way that upgrading your digital infrastructure can enhance the patient experience. Whether submitting a quick question, requesting a prescription refill or inquiring about appointment availability, the ability to directly message providers makes patients feel more connected to and in control of their healthcare experience—and leads to greater patient retention. 

3. Going digital expands your operational capacity 

Having the operational capacity to meet patient demand is crucial, whether that’s during a healthcare crisis or a seasonal influx. Even post-pandemic, healthcare practices will confront wide fluctuations in patient volume, due to reasons as varied as the seasonal flu or annual back-to-school physicals. Automating back-office workflows and streamlining patient intake processes gives your staff the room they need to deliver premium year-round care to more patients in a shorter period of time.

Additionally, for healthcare organizations that have had to sacrifice service quality as they struggle to keep up with increasing customer expectations and industry regulations, solutions like remote ID verification and telehealth consultations make it easy to successfully manage increasing patient volumes and stabilize profit margins—with minimal investment.  

For example, after adopting a telehealth solution in under 48 hours, MIMIT Health—one of the fastest growing multi-disciplinary physician groups in the country—saw a 35% reduction in labor costs, 95% less time spent on patient intake forms and a 20% increase in revenue. 

4. Better employee experience improves operational efficiency 

Data and contracts are at the heart of every modern industry, healthcare practices included. Confidential information plays a critical role in keeping hospital systems running—but outdated software can easily impede your practice’s ability to efficiently deliver quality healthcare. 

Today, healthcare leaders are using advanced digital technology that integrates with existing systems—providing an elegant solution to the inefficiencies that arise from using disparate technological systems. Full integration between state-of-the-art contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions and other cloud-based IT software (like Microsoft or your revenue cycle management software) streamlines the daily work of securely preparing, approving and storing contracts.

As information moves securely through your organization, the right digital infrastructure can also help you turn raw data into clear-cut, actionable insights. CLM software with data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) features can help your practice plan for the future or identify risks in existing agreements.

5. Efficiency sets the stage for scalable growth

“In the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, Americans are waking up to the limitations of their analog health care system,” says Dr. Sirina Keesara in The New England Journal of Medicine’s Covid-19 and Health Care’s Digital Revolution.”

Automating back-office workflows, streamlining patient intake procedures, and offering telehealth visits decreases the cost of care, improves margins and boosts productivity—but it also provides every organization with the room it needs to grow. As technology like electronic signatures and workflow intelligence take the place of inefficient manual contract management procedures, practices gain the freedom and resources they need to plan for the future. Expand your operation to reach new patients or focus on what matters most—providing excellent patient care.

Docusign’s eSignature and Contract Lifecycle Management solution

In today’s challenging healthcare landscape, going digital isn’t a nicety; it’s a necessity. Automating manual workflows and digitizing your paper-based healthcare experience bolsters your ability to safely, securely and efficiently deliver a premium healthcare experience for you and your patients.

Bringing your healthcare practice online is also easier than you think. From multi-site practices to COVID-19 testing sites—Docusign is trusted by more than 1,400 healthcare providers around the globe as a leading provider of telehealth solutions. Improving the patient experience and driving greater efficiency for your practice is as simple as streamlining the manual processes that affect your patients, physicians and employees.

Spend more time with patients, not processes. Learn more about Docusign’s healthcare solutions