5 Strategies To Provide Greater Patient Access to Medical Services

One of the biggest factors for a person’s long-term health and wellness is their access to healthcare. If cost, time, or proximity keep someone from seeing a doctor, even a minor problem can develop into a later one. Studies show that while more people have access to healthcare than ever before, there are still plenty of gaps to be closed. 

During the pandemic, the American healthcare system underwent a major change as many doctors explored digital alternatives to in-person visits. While this transition was anything but seamless, it provided a look into what the future of healthcare could look like. Many of these changes have stood the test of time, like contactless processes, and have introduced us to several new ways to expand and improve upon patient access. 

  1. Evaluate Your Clinic’s Capacity and Resources

Every physical clinic has different capabilities, but those capabilities aren’t just limited to the number of examining rooms and seats in your waiting room. It’s easy for clinics to get overwhelmed and let customer service slip away from them if they don’t have an up-to-date digital communications system. This is where most people will find out about your clinic and how to schedule appointments. 

The key to an effective system is patience and convenience. It’s becoming easier than ever before for clients to doctor shop, so think of this as putting your best face forward. You want clients to be able to find out about your doctors, your office hours, how to schedule an appointment, and any specialties your office offers within a few quick minutes of searching at most. 

  1. Develop a System for Managing Patient Appointments

It used to be rather frustrating to make an appointment with a doctor – between the busy signals, long wait times to connect to the right extension, and no way to know if the doctor you were calling was busy for months in advance before you called. This would be an even bigger problem if the caller had an emergency, or had a disability that made it harder to navigate the phone system. 

This is why creating a streamlined system for making appointments is especially important. One of the best ways to achieve this is by incorporating an EHR system. What is EHR? Electronic health records systems allow doctors to access patient medical records and send them to other doctors with a wait of only seconds, making it much easier for patients to find the specialist they need. 

  1. Implement Strategies to Offer Telehealth or Remote Treatment

Not every medical problem can be resolved via remote care, of course. Everything from physical therapy to elective surgeries needs an in-person touch, but many appointments can be resolved quickly via a teleconference. Say a man is worried about a mole on his back and wants it looked at by a dermatologist. A quick look from a video screen can put the man at ease – or lead the doctor to prioritize a skin cancer screening. 

This is especially important when dealing with the elderly or people with disabilities. For many people, it can be challenging to get out of the house for an appointment. Anyone living in rural areas might also find it challenging to find the time to drive to the doctor. Telehealth can help them keep in touch with a doctor and spot problems before they become serious. 

  1. Support Healthcare Workers

There’s no denying it – this has been a brutal few years for healthcare workers. Between the added health risks, the safety protocols, and many stressful cases, it’s no surprise that burnout and other associated issues have increased among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. 

So how can telehealth and other new initiatives help healthcare workers? These strategies allow greater flexibility for workers, allowing them to accomplish many cases quickly and effectively with less risk of exposure. Taking care of healthcare workers also benefits patients, as less stress means they’ll be more keyed into their job. 

  1. Promote Value-Based Care

What is Value-Based Care? It’s a healthcare principle based on improving patient quality and outcomes. This means tackling problems before they arrive, rather than simply being a reactive health care system. 

Rather than seeing a patient as a series of symptoms, value-based care cares about the past, present, and future of the patient. It supports long-term health improvements like quitting smoking or drinking, and allows for varied styles of care based on the patient’s preferences. 

A Better Health-Care System

So how can these five techniques change health care? All of them adapt to a new world and provide health care that considers the needs of its patients and providers. You’ll find better satisfaction and better results as the industry evolves.