Patient care. It is the utmost priority of any healthcare practice. Although physicians and their team members make money doing it, their primary focus is — or should be — providing high-quality care to each individual they serve. 

A lot goes on behind the scenes at physician practices, though. From patient scheduling and insurance verification to billing and collections, practice staff are responsible for maintaining operational efficiency and optimized revenue. 

Practice administrators and office managers typically lead and oversee these processes. They identify and address any problematic issues that arise, from challenges in coordinating care to troubles securely sharing patient information in the most efficient way. 

Some medical group leaders encounter lapses in internal communication, which negatively impact various administrative tasks. As these healthcare management professionals are aware, improving internal communication enhances a practice’s overall efficiency—even direct patient care. 

If this all sounds familiar to your practice, there are affordable, secure and uncomplicated ways to improve communication, streamline task management and promote better team collaboration. Tools that enable automated task management not only aid in achieving these goals but also reduce manual errors and free staff to focus on all-important patient care. In this blog, we’re sharing our top five. 

1. HIPAA-Compliant Messaging 

Many healthcare professionals might find HIPAA compliance frustrating. Still, it protects sensitive patient health information (PHI) from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. HIPAA Security Rule regulations apply to all patient communications, including messages sent via text or phone and electronic health records (EHRs) stored in the healthcare facility, in the cloud, or in other locations. 

Practices failing to meet HIPAA standards risk costly civil and criminal penalties. The cost of such penalties varies. The fee for criminal violations ranges from $50,000 to $250,000. Civil penalties start at $127 per violation and can rise to $1,919,173 when a violation is attributable to willful neglect and not corrected within 30 days. Many healthcare providers, though, still have not implemented policies and technology to avoid one. 

To ensure that patient information is shared securely and efficiently among your team members, you should exclusively utilize applications and technology explicitly designed for the industry by experts well-versed in HIPAA’s privacy rules. A prime example is a HIPAA-compliant Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system. 

Unlike traditional landlines that rely on outdated hardware and infrastructure, VoIP operates over the Internet, enabling your practice staff to communicate from any device with an Internet connection, including computers, phones and tablets. The technology is well-suited for small and medium-sized practices because it allows physicians to make calls conveniently and securely from their smartphones or laptops.  

Adding a HIPAA-compliant text messaging platform to your medical organization also provides an invaluable, efficient resource that protects patient data and privacy, responds to patient demand and meets the challenges of today’s modern healthcare demands.  Communicating through texting improves staff satisfaction because it helps you stay connected with them using their preferred communication channel. 

2. Call Routing 

Call routing is a great tool for managing the numerous calls your practice receives daily and minimizing patient on-hold times. It also improves staff productivity by routing calls based on team member responsibilities, ensuring your patients easily reach the provider best suited to handle their requests. 

Call routing also reduces manual call transfers. Your staff then has more time to focus on other pertinent tasks, and patient and front office satisfaction increases. 

The ideal VoIP phone system should provide a solution that incorporates added call routing features. One example is something referred to as a parking lot, which allows a practice staff member at any extension to see and pick up calls on hold during call volume times or in shared responsibility offices. Another is ring groups. These are group extensions that ring by department, so your staff never misses a call. 

3. On-Call Capabilities 

As someone who oversees a medical practice, you know that patients don’t only need healthcare during regular office hours. They often require communication when most staff are gone for the day.  

After-hours access to primary care practices has been proven to lower the frequency of E.R. visits and reduce the amount of unmet medical needs. On-call capabilities included in a VoIP phone system built specifically for healthcare practices direct patients calling after office hours to the appropriate on-call medical professional. 

A high-quality and feature-rich enterprise-quality communications system includes a powerful calendar, profile and management system that lets each on-call provider set a custom profile. That way, calls are managed correctly, reducing administration headaches and patient delays. 

Such a system must also enable your practice’s physicians and other clinicians to set their preferred methods of contact (e.g., cell phone, landline, mobile app extension). It’s just another way to streamline your practice’s communication processes and reduce operational costs, something most of today’s healthcare provider organizations are trying to accomplish. 

RingRx: Built for Healthcare 

By leveraging RingRx’s cloud-based enterprise-class platform, you can cost-effectively enhance patient communication, streamline workflows and ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations. Our system is designed for scalability and can be customized to meet your specific practice needs. 

Discover how to enhance your healthcare office’s internal communication with RingRx. Take advantage of our complementary 14-day trial to start streamlining your operations today.