Practice Efficiency

Why You Should Automate Your Patient Workflows – Plus, How to Do It

Why You Should Automate Your Patient Workflows – Plus, How to Do It
Ashley Faber

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To maximize efficiency in your practice, provide a stellar patient experience, and achieve sustainable growth, you need to automate your patient workflows.

This includes everything from appointment reminders, to insurance collection and intake forms, to follow-up and no-show engagement.

Why traditional workflows don’t work

Traditionally, the patient workflow is entirely manual and requires a lot of time on the phone (which, in most cases, is actually just phone tag). A recent Klara study found that 3 hours is wasted per staff per day on phone tag alone. Another study found that nearly 50% of physicians’ time is spent on paperwork, while only 27% is spent on actual patient care.

All this time spent on administrative duties is losing your practice money. In fact, $50,000 in revenue is lost annually per physician on average because of busywork.

And then there’s the patient experience — which, to put simply, isn’t great.

Patients regularly complain about scheduling difficulties, communication issues, waiting for too long, and feeling rushed when they’re finally with their doctor. These days, patients want convenience — so much so that 80% of them choose their doctors based on convenience factors alone. What’s more, most patient complaints — 96% to be exact — are around customer service and communication issues.

You need to streamline your workflows so you and your staff are more productive and so your patients have a positive experience (one that’s worthy of a five-star review). To help you get started, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about automating your workflows.

What automated workflows look like

You can automate just about every step of the patient journey


Let’s break it down, starting with your pre-visit workflows

Insurance Collection & Intake: After an appointment is created in your PM system, Klara Assistant sends an automated text message to the patient with a link where they can submit their insurance information and fill out any necessary intake and consent forms online. (No patient portal login, username, password, or email required.) Once completed, you can easily export the information directly to your EHR.

Automate COVID-19 screening; no phone calls required

Appointment Reminders: Klara Assistant reminds patients about their upcoming appointments with customizable messages that communicate relevant details in a personal tone. Patient information automatically syncs on an hourly basis to ensure the right message goes to the right patient at the right time. When a patient confirms or cancels an appointment, it’s automatically reflected in the PM system’s schedule.

Use appointment reminders as an opportunity to share office policies due to COVID-19

Relevant Pre-visit Instructions: Patients are busy and won't always remember how to prepare for an upcoming procedure or visit. Klara Assistant sends timely messages letting them know what to expect and reminding them of any necessary steps. Unlike static brochures or flyers, you can include attachments or links to get your best message across.

For telemedicine visits, you can include a link to join a virtual waiting room before the appointment begins
Every message is customizable by appointment type, so your instructions will always be specific and relevant

After the visit:

No-Show Engagement: Klara Assistant gets patient no-shows back on the calendar by sending them a “sorry we missed you” text with a request to reschedule. You can even include a link for patients to book a new appointment slot right from their phones.

Integration with the scheduling module in your EHR/PM system provides the patient with real-time information on your practice’s availability

Feedback & Reviews: Klara Assistant gets direct feedback from your patients by sending them a one-question satisfaction survey via text.

Customize your responses based on their score and make it easy for them to write an online review on the sites that matter most to your business

Post-visit Follow-up: Klara Assistant follows up with patients after a visit to send standard care instructions, follow-up appointment scheduling, or check in on how they’re feeling. You can confidently tell your patients when they’ll receive your follow-up, and have peace of mind knowing it will get to them as expected.

Patient replies go right into Klara, so you can pick up on the human side of the conversation


There’s even more automation you can do in between visits, as well.

Respond to Voicemails: Don’t worry about that blinking red light on your phone. Patient voicemails can be recorded and transcribed, so you don’t have to listen to every single one. Not only that, you can automatically respond to them via text (and avoid playing phone tag).

Send Message Reminders: If you’ve sent a message to a patient but they haven’t read it or responded, you can set up automated reminders to make sure they see it.

Turn on OOO: Patients will contact your office outside of normal business hours, so set automated out-of-office messages with emergency contact information, when the office will be open, when they can expect a reply, etc. You can set these for all touchpoints, including phone, text, and web messaging.

As you can see, you can turn your routine patient communications and workflows into digitized systems that save you time and create a better patient experience. You can even add personalization to it, too. More on that in the next section.

Adding a personal touch to your digitized patient experience

Technology is great when you want to maximize efficiency. But it can also be impersonal. In medicine especially, you need that personal touch. With the right technology solution, you can create efficiencies where you need them (and where patients want them) and still deliver a personalized experience that keeps them coming back.

For example:

  • Personalized texts: You can set personalized text for each automated communication that includes the patient’s name and speaks to their appointment type (i.e. if it’s a first-time telemedicine visit, in-person visit, etc.).
  • Appeal to their concerns: Show that you’re human with automated messages that speak to general concerns you know they might have. For example, patients are still concerned about COVID-19, so sending a message with your new, contactless protocols for in-person visits will go a long way.
  • Respond back: No matter how a patient contacts you, you’ll be able to respond back — either through automated replies or by typing a personalized message. Your patients will see that they’re not just talking to a bot — and you’ll be able to track the entire conversation (regardless of contact entry) in one place.
  • Spend time, unrushed: Because of your digitized workflows, you’ll have more time to actually spend with patients. That’s about as personal as it can get!

All in all, you can use digital workflows to create a personalized patient experience. In our next and final section, we outline how and why to do it.

How to automate your workflows and grow your practice

By now, you’re probably ready to automate your workflows, you just don’t know where to start. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. With Klara Assistant, you can automate all the routine workflows and communications we just outlined, so you can send relevant messages to inform and engage your patients — without all the repetitive work that ultimately stifles your growth. With all that Klara Assistant can accomplish, it will feel like there’s a new member of your team helping to lighten the load. 

Just ask Julia Tanghetti, Practice Business Director for The Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, who uses Klara Assistant in her practice and says that the most significant impact has been in the automation of paperwork and document requests:

Our new patients are now able to easily complete their health history form and send us pictures of their insurance cards all from their smartphones before their visit. When they walk in the door, they are ready to be roomed and seen without having to print up forms or take up time in the waiting room filling out the documents. Given COVID-19 and the particular concern of keeping our pre-visit workflow with minimal patient contact, having a truly paperless check-in process is a big help.

At the end of the day, automating your workflows is a no-brainer. All the immediate benefits — like increased productivity, more time to see patients, and happier patients (who hopefully leave lots of positive reviews and recommend your practice to their friends) — will have a lasting impact on your practice’s revenue.


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