Better Patient Care with Smart Devices

Two weeks ago I was forced to get my first smart phone ever--my personal cell phone had become obsolete. I have not had good reception for months and learned that my cell phone company is filtering out all basic models. While I will never use my personal phone for anything other than making phone calls, it got me thinking: what if I can use one smart device to run all basic business functions? What if it can go beyond that to provide better patient care through an incresed level of patient engagement, and streamline the office workflow so I can spend valuable time where it matters--with the patients rather than scanning and uploading documents?

About nine months ago for unforeseen reasons I became the only full time employee at Ocular Artists. We no longer have front office staff so I became one. I am now general manager, receptionist, ocularist, janitor. For every new patient who comes in, I spend twice the time of their first appointment processing intake paperwork. I'd much rather be spending that time seeing other patients.

With this in mind, I bit the bullet and purchased a fancy new phone for business. The first thing I noticed is a boost in productivity. By choosing the right task management apps I'm able to stay organized throughout the day. When overtime becomes a necessity, I find it less painful to stay productive during extended hours by delegating mindless portable work to the evening hours. Don't want to leave the bed? No problem. No longer tied to a landline at the office, I can schedule phone calls on the non clinic days and answer them while sitting in bed (picture me in a fuzzy robe during a conference call).

Boosting my personal productivity is only the beginning. Over the past few days, I began looking into EHR software that were fundamentally designed to be touchpad friendly. Why is this an important factor? Smart phones and tablets these days are both extremely portable and built to allow easy accessibility and exchangeability of data between platforms. In other words, it means quicker, more streamlined methods of collecting patient data. Considering switching from our current free EHR software to something costing approximately $200/mo, is it worth it? In my case, I believe I'll reach full working capacity with our current free EHR software sooner than with the system that costs money. When I reach full capacity I'll need to hire staff. If paying an extra $200/mo now can save me from hiring an extra member for quite some time, then I think it's worth it. Again, it comes back to the bottom line: the less time I have to spend downloading/uploading data, the more money I can save along the way, the less burned out I am--the more resources I can put into improving long term patient care.