7 tech trends to use in your practice

September 5, 2014

There are some great new products and technology trends that can help you manage your practice more efficiently and improve your patient care.

There are some great new products and technology trends that can help you manage your practice more efficiently and improve your patient care. Medscaperecently listed technology trends that healthcare practitioners can use that may change the way their practice runs.

1. Telemedicine expected to grow over the next five years.

Are you using video conferencing and remote monitoring devices to check in with patients who may not be able to make it into the office? If you aren’t now, you probably will soon. Forbes predicts the telemedicine market will increase to nearly $2 billion in revenue within the next five years as the U.S. healthcare industry struggles with a doctor shortage and other major changes under the Affordable Care Act.

Telemedicine catches ROP, NEI study finds

And if you don’t think telemedicine is on its way to eye care, your peers may disagree. During a presentation at SECO in Atlanta this year, Tony Cavallerano, OD, FAAO, said that tele-imaging will likely hold promise for the treatment of rural patients. Dr. Cavellerano envisioned the day when ODs will perform eye exams using telemedicine and patients will take a “selfie” of their own retinas.

2. And remote monitoring will too.

With a little help from technology, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your patients’ glucose levels, intraocular pressure (IOP), and more at any time without having to see them in-office.

Sensimed’s Triggerfish can monitor IOP around the clock and transfer the data directly to an eyecare practitioner’s computer. Google recently teamed up with Alcon to work on a glucose-monitoring contact lens-and if Google is investing in smart contact lenses, you can bet the market will be one to watch.

 

3. Update your front desk experience.

You can save your patients and staff some time and hassle by allowing patients to check themselves in, update their health information, and more using a tablet or a computer.

EHR roundup

Your EHR system may already have this option available or you could look into devices like PatientPad or websites like NoMoreClipboard.com, where patients can fill out the information before they go in for their appointment.

4. Dictate your clinical notes.

Now that you’ve saved your staff and patients some time, it’s your turn. Voice recognition software has come a long way, so why not use it to write your clinical notes? Medscape mentions Dragon Medical by Nuance, which is specially designed for medical professionals. The notes transfer automatically into an EHR system.

5. Smartphones may replace some of your current technology.

Smart contact lenses aren’t the only ones in the remote monitoring game. Turns out our ever-present smartphones are good for more than texting and Candy Crush-they can also help you track your patients’ health. iHealth recently launched the world’s smallest glucose monitor, which plugs right into iPhone or Android devices to help track glucose levels over the span of weeks or months. The device’s app can also help remind patients to take their medication, track of insulin doses, and keep track of the quantity of test strips.

The MyVisionTrack app earned FDA approval last year, allowing patients with retinal disease to monitor their vision between visits to their eyecare practitioner.

Dr. Marc Bloomenstein recently told us about a device he attaches to his smartphone to take pictures of different ocular conditions. Check out that video here.

 

 

6. Use your patient communication portal to provide educational resources.

You’ve likely had a patient or two who had already self-diagnosed with a little help from the Internet before setting foot in the office. Others are heading to Google to find out more on their condition the second they leave your office.

Medscape recommends taking charge of your patient’s desire for more information about their condition by offering education resources, information about their treatment, a cost schedule for various procedures, and more through your EHR’s patient communication portal.

7. Make it easier for your patients to pay their bills.

As patients face larger insurance deductibles, you may want to look into options that will make it easier for patients to pay their bills. Medscape advises that practices have staff members educate patients on their financing options, start accepting credit cards, and/or bring in a vendor who can create an online business center to make it convenient for patients to pay their bills.