The holiday season is in full swing, and no matter what holidays you celebrate, a key theme of the season is gift giving. In addition to finding the right gift for family and friends, executives and managers often look for gifts for the staff as well. Cash bonuses, holiday parties with catered food, and subscriptions to the jelly of the month club are always popular and are fairly easy to give. After the stressful year healthcare professionals have had, extra money and good cheer are certainly welcome.

The joy and goodwill these gifts provide may be short-lived however. Healthcare leaders should also consider “gifts” that benefit healthcare staff throughout the year, such as by reducing workloads, mitigating burnout, improving the patient experience, and maximizing reimbursement. In this blog, we’ll discuss 7 great gifts for ambulatory healthcare staff.

1. Automated Workflows

Automated workflows are a great gift for ambulatory staff. In Medscape’s report on physician burnout form earlier this year, the two leading causes of burnout according to physicians were “Too many bureaucratic tasks” (58%) and “Spending too many hours at work” (37%). Investing in tech that automates routine tasks and streamlines workflows can help mitigate burnout among your staff and create a happier work environment.

2. Clinical Decision Support

Clinical decision support alleviates stress and improves patient safety by ensuring the right exam or procedure is ordered for the right patient. A Clinical Decision Support Mechanism, or qCDSM, achieves this by asking a series of questions at the point of order entry. These questions match the patient with the appropriate exam or procedure and can also be customized to ensure any other criteria a facility needs are met before the order is submitted. For example, if a patient’s weight exceeds the limit of the equipment being used, the qCDSM would flag this before the order was submitted. Using clinical decision support in the ambulatory order process can also create a better patient experience by reducing the likelihood of rescheduling due to criteria mismatches. A final benefit of qCDSM’s is that they help maximize reimbursement by eliminating CPT/ICD-10 code mismatches and ensuring compliance with the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA).

3. Interoperability

The gift of interoperability can help facilitate ambulatory staff’s jobs by ensuring information can be easily transferred between disparate systems, such as the EHR and order management solution. Time is critical in healthcare, even in non-emergency settings, and having the right data readily available saves time. This is what interoperability provides. Systems that are interoperable with each other increase efficiency and eliminate time wasted inputting data into multiple systems. This in turn increases throughput times. Like automated workflows, interoperable systems and procedures can relieve stress and mitigate burnout and can help providers get the most out of their IT investments.

4. Order Transparency and Validation

Improving the ambulatory order process has benefits for both patients and providers. Solutions that ensure order transparency and validation, like iOrder, make a great gift for your ambulatory department. Transparent ambulatory orders ensure that all parties involved in a medical order, from the physician to the patient, are able to see the status of the order at any given time. This minimizes lost orders, frustration, and confusion due to poor communication. Order validation ensures that order information is accurate and whether or not a procedure meets insurance requirements and/or requires preauthorization, which leads to our next gift.

Watch the video below to learn how iOrder provides full ambulatory order transparency and validation.

5. Preauthorization Assurance

Ambulatory orders sometimes require preauthorization. The process of submitting orders for preauthorization, from tracking down the right paperwork to following up on the request and submitting appeals if it’s rejected, is time-consuming and burdensome for many ambulatory departments. Ambulatory staff are sure to love the gift of preauthorization assurance provided by outsourcing the preauthorization process to a certified third-party preauthorization specialist. Preauthorization specialists handle all the preauthorization leg-work, freeing up your ambulatory staff to focus on other tasks.

6. SMS/Text Messaging for Patient Outreach

Another gift that can streamline workflows and reduce workloads is SMS/text messaging for patient outreach. Calling patients to confirm an appointment, schedule a follow-up visit, or notify them their test results are ready requires a considerable amount of time. When a patient misses the call, it can be frustrating for both the patient and the staff responsible for making the calls. A better solution is to eliminate phone tag by incorporating SMS and text messaging into your patient outreach.

These messages can be sent at any time and provide patients with the info they need, including links to confirm an appointment, schedule a new one, and view test results. SMS and text messages can even be automated, removing even more of the burden from ambulatory staff. An added benefit of text messages is that they have a 209% higher response rate than email, phone, or Facebook, making them ideal for asking for patient reviews and feedback. In fact, consumers are nearly twice as likely to prefer texting to other forms of communication, and 65% of consumers say texting makes working with local businesses more convenient.

Check out these other great stats about text messaging from Podium’s “Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing“.

Text messaging is an effective tool for patient outreach

7. Support & Service

The final gift to give your ambulatory staff is 24/7 support and service from vendors. Time is critical in healthcare, and ambulatory staff don’t have time to spare. When technical issues arise, having a reliable vendor standing by with 24/7 support is a lifesaver. When evaluating potential IT vendors, be sure to ask them what type of customer service and support they provide. A great vendor will handle tech issues while your ambulatory staff focuses on your patients.

For more tips on selecting a health IT vendor, check our blog on 7 common traits of top healthcare IT vendors.

Gifts That Keep on Giving

When considering gifts for your ambulatory staff this holiday season, look for solutions that will benefit them in the long run. While traditional holiday gifts like cash bonuses and holiday parties shouldn’t be forgotten, the gifts of reduced workloads, less burnout, and improved efficiency will go a long way to improving ambulatory staff’s work environment and can combat staff turnover and shortages.

There are many gifts that can help accomplish this, but we think 7 of the best are:

  1. Automated workflows
  2. Clinical decision support
  3. Interoperability
  4. Order transparency and validation
  5. Preauthorization assurance
  6. SMS/Text messaging for patient outreach
  7. Support & service

At iPro, we have a solution that has all of these gifts in one. Our ambulatory order management solution, iOrder, generates an electronic order with full transparency. Each order can be validated through an integrated Clinical Decision Support Mechanism (qCDSM), and we also offer preauthorization assurance through an integration with AuthNet. Let us do all the heavy lifting so your ambulatory staff doesn’t have to worry about rescheduling exams or lost reimbursements due to CPT/ICD-10 code mismatches or insurance companies not approving exams.

iOrder is also interoperable with other platforms, including the EHR and EMR, which means orders are seamlessly communicated electronically between platforms – no need for duplicate entry! This saves time and eliminates human error. With iOrder, patients also receive text messages with links to procedure-specific instruction videos and facility navigation, ensuring the day of the visit goes as smoothly as possible. Finally, iOrder comes with 24/7 support from the iPro team so your staff has peace of mind if technical issues arise.

If you’d like to learn more about giving your ambulatory staff the gift of iOrder, contact us today, or fill out this form to schedule a live demo.