“Don’t sweat the small stuff” is something we are constantly told, in the belief that focusing on what we deem inconsequential will condemn us to a life of missed opportunity.
But what we often notice when we talk to our customers is that the small stuff often turns out to be the most crucial – the kind of problems that have driven practices mad for decades, asking “does it always have to be this way?” We’re talking about forms, the forms that patients fill in while waiting to see their doctor.
We recently announced that we are developing a Patient Portal, investing $6.5 million for the initial development. It’s something we’re very excited about and will be a game-changer in the medical software sector, allowing for the automation of the patient’s journey through the health system.
The goal of the Patient Portal is to deliver a better experience for patients giving them access to critical information, waste less of their time and increase their safety. For doctors, it will make it easier to deliver excellent care to patients, improve their practice bottom line through efficiency gains, help build patient community, help serve more patients and help avoid patients going elsewhere.
Now back to forms…
At Genie Solutions we are great believers in co-design. We don’t impose solutions on our customers – we ask them what they need, we work with them to design products, we test and re-test, until we have a product that is really going to make a difference. As the largest provider to specialists of practice management software, we have a distinct advantage in finding out what makes our customer segment happy.
When we surveyed our network, we found that the number one demand of practices was to have functionality that would allow the online completion of demographic information, as this would deliver immediate time savings for patients, specialists and practices. It’s something anyone who has been to a doctor can relate to, standing at the front desk hurriedly filling in a form on a clipboard, which most likely a receptionist then types in. Wouldn’t it make sense for the forms to be filled in advance, at leisure, allowing the specialist to have a fuller, more accurate, picture of the patient ahead of the consultation? As a result, online forms, which will also allow post-consultation feedback and monitoring, will be the first feature to be front-end loaded as part of the roll-out of our wider Patient Portal initiative.
The second most requested feature is online appointment bookings. Further releases of the portal will include functionality such as patient messaging, clinical records and script referral. Our specialist community will be consulted on each stage of development in line with the co-design philosophy and the portal will be co-branded with the clinic, so the relationship with patients will remain strong.So, there’s a big picture in play here, reflecting the onward march towards digital health and automated processes. But the first step, while it might appear small, should not be underestimated in its impact.