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The Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is upon us!  Everyone is busy juggling work with their holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends.  The team at Onpoint is no different.  This year we decided to add to our holiday celebration by giving back to the community.   We felt the best gift would be to give to those organizations that work diligently to help others.  The Onpoint team works hard but we also like to have fun so we thought we’d make our contribution in a fun way.  This year our holiday party included bowling for dollars!  This year, Onpoint Medical Solutions will be making donations to the following organizations.

joy of giving

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington (HSSW).  HSSW is committ

ed to enriching the lives of people and pets through education, outreach, adoption, events and support services for families in need.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.  They are committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources.

One Life.  The mission of One Life is to feed and equip people in our community to break cycles of poverty.

To those who have chosen Onpoint to be their billing partner we thank you for your continued faith in our services.  Onpoint is fortunate to be able to work with so many great people.   We value and appreciate everyone of you.  We wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to contributing to your successes.

happy holidays

How To Maximize the Patient Portal

maximize your patient portalCongratulations on getting a patient portal for your practice!  An August, 2015 study, published in Health Affairs, found that only 10.4 percent of practices met the meaningful use objectives of providing a patient portal.

This year, eligible providers who don’t meet the requirements for Meaningful Use, stage 2, will suffer the 1% Medicare penalty.  While stage 2 has 20 core objectives, two of the most challenging will likely be: 1) 50% of your patients must be able to access their health information online in a timely manner, and 2) more than 5% of patients must actually use the providers’ patient portals. This means that not only do your patients need to be enrolled in your patient portal, at least 5% need to actually be using it.

Just having a patient portal is not a build it and they will come venture.  You must be actively involved and your staff also has to be ready, willing and actively engaged in getting your patients to sign up.

Yes, patient portals can be great tools.  They can be very beneficial to your patients.  They can improved office workflow and save your staff time.  But, before you can realize these benefits you must actually get patients and staff to use it.  Here are some tried and true tips that other practices have used that will help maximize your patient portal in no time.

GET THE WHOLE OFFICE INVOLVED

Your staff has a real opportunity to promote the patient portal at every patient interaction.  Educate the staff to see how the patient portal will improve their workflow.  When patients can make appointments, pay bills, and message their provider it means less phone calls to the office.  It also means that patients can complete the patient registration/check-in process faster.

A very busy orthopedic practice saw every patient interaction as a chance to promote the patient portal.  In the end, 25% of their patients were actively using the portal.  Here are some of the things this practice implemented.

  1. Every staff member had a script to ‘talk up’ the benefits of patient portal to patients;
  2. When patients called for an appointment, the staff reminded patients they could make their next appointment online;
  3. The practice utilized the appointment reminder feature to encourage patients to register for the patient portal;
  4. Staff reminded patients that they could pay their bills online;
  5. The practice engaged their billing company to help promote the patient portal both when talking to patients and by putting a message on the patient statements; and
  6. Before the physician left the exam room patients were reminded that they can access lab results, send secure messages or get other information relative to the practice.

MARKET THE PATIENT PORTAL

Are you promoting the patient portal the right way?  Don’t tell patients about the features.  Instead, tell them how it benefits them.  Saying the portal has ‘secure messaging’ or an ‘appointment calendar’ isn’t enough.  Tell them they can communicate directly with you when it is convenient for them.  Or, you know their time is valuable too so now they don’t have to call the office, during office hours, or wait on the phone.

Every piece of marketing collateral must promote the patient portal.  Create a non-page handout, explaining the benefits and how to register.  It is important to give them clear instructions on how to register.  Have your staff try out the instructions so that you know you have covered every ‘how to’ step.  This will also ensure that staff knows how to explain it to patients.

Add it to your website; your automated appointment reminder; brochures,  and Facebook page, if you have one.  Also, the new patient packet offers a good opportunity to introduce the patient portal.

DON’T FORGET YOUR OLDER PATIENTS

Don’t assume that your older patients won’t or can’t sign up for the patient portal.  Kaiser Permanente is the best example of effectively using their patient portal, My Health Manager, the largest private-sector patient portal in the United States.  In the third quarter of 2015, Kaiser had more than 5.2 million or 70 percent of adult members registered and actively using their patient portal.

Kaiser reports that the older patient was actually eager to register.  They appreciated the access to their healthcare providers, lab results, the ease of making their next appointment and make payments.

They may need a little extra help registering and navigating the patient portal but the time spent is well worth it.  Remember, it will ultimately cut down on time spent by your office staff.

TRACK YOUR ENGAGEMENT NUMBERS

Tracking the number of patients who are actively engaged with your portal will tell you what you are doing right and where you might make improvements.  They key to success is patient awareness.  Make sure both your staff and your patients know how to use it and that they understand how the portal benefits them.  Then watch your engagement numbers grow.  You will find that your office is more efficient, patient payments are collected faster, patients appreciate the increased interaction and you will meet Meaningful Use.  A win for all.

Rub Employees the Right Way

Rub employees the right wayAppreciate your staff

Employers want staff to know they are appreciated and want to rub employees the right way.  Yet, finding the right way can be challenging.  Literally thousands of articles have been written about incentive pay, exotic trips, and lavish parties.  Small businesses find it difficult to give the employees the time off and pay for such benefits.  The challenge is coming up with something that works for everyone.

Onpoint Medical Solutions was looking for ways to reduce employee stress, show employee appreciation and increase staff job satisfaction.  They decided to offer an in-office benefit to literally rub employees the right way.  You’ve likely seen this service at major airports.  According to an article in the Seattle Times, massage reduces stress, lessens anxiety and increases happiness.  So, if it works for travelers then why not for employees?

Onpoint Medical Solutions took this idea and ran with it.  They contracted with a local massage therapist to come to the office at a set time and provide neck, shoulder, and back massages.  The massage therapist brings a portable massage chair, sets up in an office, and provides 10-15 minute massages for anyone who wants one.  The company pays for the massage therapist’s time and does not dock their pay during their massage.

The beauty of this is that employees don’t have to leave work, it’s convenient and the company has negotiated a fixed price.  Everyone wins!  Sometimes employers unintentionally upset staff. Here is an easy way to rub employees the right way and let them know that you appreciate everything they do.  This is a great way to acknowledge that they are major contributors to the success of the company.  Happy employees are what every company wants.

 

Increase Productivity with Paint

Increase productivity through color

A Simple Idea to Increase Productivity

There are many articles about how to increase productivity.  Most managers read these articles and then try several.  After all, everyone wants to increase staff’s productivity, as well, as their own.  What works?  Is it a bonus, movie tickets, gym memberships, training opportunities or better equipment?  Maybe, but recently an interesting article about increasing work productivity came across my desk from a very unusual source – Elle Decor.

Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant to behavior.  But have you thought of using color to increase productivity in the workplace? According to the article, color can impact employees to motivate, energize, enhance creativity and foster communication.  All you have to do is determine how you want to impact the staff and then pick the corresponding color.  Take a look a this article and maybe, just maybe, the color you pick will have a positive impact on your office setting.

Happy Employees = Healthy Profits

Happy employees can increase profit.  Many practice owners and managers assume that the key to productive staff is more money but that is only part of the story.  A study conducted at the University of Warwick [1] found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.

The growing body of research around employee happiness and the link to profitability is persuasive.  It is simple – positive and happy staff are engaged, productive and committed to creating a positive environment.  Happy employees will result in less turnover, fewer patient complaints, increased productivity, lower error rates, better teamwork, and less stress which all lead to increased profits.

Creating a workplace filled with happy people isn’t all about salary increases.  In fact, a 2016 Gallup poll of more than 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded the number 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss.  So, don’t start thinking that you can make people happy and more productive if you give them more money.

Instead here are 5 things you can easily do to change the happiness level in your employees and improve your bottom line.

  1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Broken promises will undermine trust.
  2. Provide consistent feedback. Use feedback as a teaching tool and deliver it objectively and fairly.
  3. Respect the skills that each employee brings to the practice. Ask them what is a better more efficient way for them to do their job and make sure you provide the best tools for them to accomplish what needs to be done.
  4. Share your dreams and goals for the practice. Your goals make their job safe.  People want to see the big picture and want to be involved.
  5. Positive feedback about a job well done, goals met or increased productivity will go a long way. Engaged employees are self-motivated to go above and beyond but they won’t do it day-after-day without some recognition.

[1] Oswald, A.J., Proto, E., and Sgroi, D. 2014: Happiness and Productivity. University of Warwick.