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Health system revenue recovery hinges on changes to the conventional patient intake process.

In late March, medical appointment cancellations reached up to 80 percent. Now, months after the first lockdown orders, more than half of US health systems are still under 75 percent of pre-pandemic patient volume, finds an MGMA Stat poll. 

Health systems need a new approach to recover even some of the over $200 billion dollars and counting in lost revenue from COVID-19

Patients continue to delay care

Patients fear contracting and transmitting COVID-19 while waiting in a waiting room or elsewhere in the healthcare facility.  

Just 31 percent of patients feel comfortable about the idea of going back to the doctor, finds a survey conducted by the Alliance of Community Health Plans. In addition, nearly 40 percent of respondents planned to delay future care as of May 2020. 

Unfortunately, delaying care results in disastrous outcomes. On the population level, preventive care measures — think vaccines, screenings, and annual physicals — dropped by as much as 94 percent in some specialties. The burden of this could be catastrophic as more cancers get diagnosed later and measles cases surpass normal levels. 

Touchless patient intake

In order to ensure social distancing guidelines are met, many health systems have asked patients to wait outside for their appointments. But without a system for managing patient intake, this creates operational inefficiencies as nurses and receptionists have to run in and out to just to keep the patient intake process going. 

But waiting outside the waiting room has potential. “If we can allow people to remain in their vehicles instead of congregating in waiting rooms, we can adhere to that social distancing to help decrease the community spread,” says Jane Arnold, Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations at UnityPoint Health

It simply requires automated patient communication. 

Virtual waiting room to facilitate touchless patient intake

What health systems need right now is a platform built to streamline the process of patients waiting outside of the waiting room when they arrive for appointments. WELL’s virtual waiting room feature is designed to do just that. 

“That is a huge benefit of WELL,”  says Dr. Cibu Panicker, a family medicine practitioner at Vista Community Clinic. “Because that’s really the only way we’re going to be able to treat patients while reducing the actual contact with other people.” 

The virtual waiting room allows patients to text their provider upon arrival and then wait safely in their car until the provider is ready to see them. It also accommodates digital patient intake forms and touchless payment options.

How it works

  • An hour before the appointment, the patient receives a reminder message with instructions to wear a mask and to text when they arrive. 
  • When the patient arrives at the provider location, they send a text indicating they have arrived. 
  • The provider sends an automated confirmation response, along with a link to patient intake forms if needed. 
  • Co-pays and balances can also be settled via text message through electronic payment options
  • The patient waits in their car until they receive a text message indicating that a room is ready.

At WELL, we make it our mission to help you help your patients

With a touchless patient intake process, health systems can progress with revenue recovery efforts while also ensuring patients are as safe as possible. 

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