Consumers turning to contactless methods for commerce
There are few things more personal and important to people than the relationships they have with their medical providers. But as central and important as the role that healthcare plays in our lives may be, medicine is subject to many of the same market forces as any other industry.
One of those market forces really stands out: Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sectors of the economy have moved quickly to adopt contactless methods for shopping and payments.
In fact, in May 2020, just two-and-a-half months after the pandemic took hold in the U.S., the National Retail Federation was reporting on a major surge in the use of contactless payments.
The NRF article cited a study by Mastercard showing that 80% of consumers were using contactless payment methods because of increased concern over safety and cleanliness, and that three-quarters of them planned to continue using such methods even after the pandemic.
Contactless check-in and healthcare
Given shifting consumer behavior in every other area of life, moving toward safer, more convenient methods of booking and keeping medical appointments was a natural move.
Two eClinicalWorks practices are showing how adopting a contactless solution for check-in can promote safety for patients and staff while making the previsit process much more efficient. Hear their stories below:
Keeping children safe, reducing paperwork
“One of our biggest challenges was that we typically would have everyone come into the clinic, check in at the front desk, and wait in the waiting room, which is typical of most practices,” “We had to reevaluate the way that we scheduled appointments so that the well children that were here for check-ups wouldn’t be here at the same time as the sick children,” said Dr. Susan Averitt, pediatrician and owner of Best Start Pediatric Clinic, a four-provider practice in Springdale, Arkansas.
Stacy Locker, practice administrator at ENT & Allergy Specialists — with three locations and 14 providers in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area — said she and her colleagues shared the goal of improving safety, but also faced the challenge of reducing paperwork.
“We’ve been able to have the patients fill out information online, through their text message,” Locker said, “and they were able to just input that information into the chart. So, once the patient comes into the office, there’s less contact with that patient.”
From trend to permanent change
Many might assume that the changes in healthcare brought about by the pandemic were as sudden as the emergence of COVID-19 itself. But in fact, as Becker’s Hospital Review noted in September, the changes are better seen as having “showcased a need for digital transition that had been building for years.”
The coronavirus pandemic has upended every aspect of life. But as unpredictable as the past year has been, one safe bet for 2021 is that medical practices will continue to expand upon contactless solutions that deliver value and satisfaction to their patients.
Learn more about how eClinicalWorks and healow can help your practice — now and for years to come.