How Federally Qualified Health Centers Can Meet The Needs & Expectations Of Their Patients

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Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are cornerstones of health and wellness for a wide variety of people in our community. However, many health centers still fall behind when it comes to integrating technology into their practices. Meeting the needs and expectations of patients requires streamlining processes, increasing accessibility and actively engaging patients—all of which can be helped with a strategic approach to technology integration.

Empower Patients To Proactively Engage With Their Healthcare Providers

Empowering patients is about more than giving them the power to take charge of their own healthcare. While this is a critical element and something that all FQHCs should strive to foster, proactive engagement from patients helps the health center, too. Patients who can manage more of their own healthcare reduce the load on already overburdened staff and cut down on unnecessary expenditures. FQHCs can streamline their operations and simultaneously improve how patients self-manage their care to the benefit of all parties.

View Care From The Patient’s Perspective

Doctor speaking with patientAs healthcare’s future continues to be driven by technological innovation, consumerization is a key facet shifting its direction as well. To determine what FQHC technology solutions make the most sense for your organization, view the health center from the patient’s perspective. Where is the most time being spent? Are medical professionals often behind in terms of scheduling, and why? Do patients regularly miss their follow-up appointments (no-shows), and if so, for what reason?

Putting yourself in the patient’s shoes might help you identify that the health center is too far from where they live, difficult to access, difficult to schedule appointments with, and more.

Focus On Patient Engagement And Involvement

No matter what types of changes you are considering, they should be tied to active patient involvement in their own care. While there is certainly a benefit to be had from refining internal processes such as cross-department communications and grant tracking, the biggest benefits will often be seen by transferring some of the lighter workload to the patient. For example, one thing a patient should be able to do on their own is to submit a prescription refill requests, confirm their appointments online or through a bi-directional texting, help complete medical forms in advance of their appointments. When processes like that are possible, it helps patients be directly involved and eliminates time that staff would need to spend managing that process.

Transform Passive Patients Into Active Leaders

Delegating tasks to patients transforms them from passive participants in their own care to active leaders championing their own wellbeing. When patients have the ability to ask for refills remotely, view their medical charts at any time and participate in telehealth visits without physically coming into the office, they take a more active role in their own wellness. This also frees up time for FQHC staff to attend to other matters.

Patient-Centered Care Directly Correlates With Patient Engagement

When a FQHC focuses on high-quality patient care, patients can engage in their own circumstances and cooperate with professionals. View this relationship as collaboration rather than a knowledge or data transfer from the facility to the patient. Patient-centered care is self-serve care.

Remove Barriers To Quality Healthcare

Healthcare providers speaking to each otherImplementing patient-forward technology at an FQHC removes many barriers to quality healthcare. Patients gain access to their medical team during off hours using texting or message systems, and they can use portals to discover educational materials that can help them make the right choices.

Even something as simple as being able to schedule an appointment by using the portal after hours can be critical.

Offer Convenient And Comfortable Patient Scheduling Options

Scheduling is one of the most noticeable changes when FQHCs implement more robust technology to meet patient needs. From offering telehealth appointments to enabling patients to automatically schedule, change or cancel appointments without calling the office, this change reduces labor for FQHC staff and streamlines healthcare for patients.

Streamline And Optimize Patient Check-In And Paperwork

Technology offers patients the ability to check in online, enter information about insurance and current medications and even scan copies of their identifying documents. FQHCs that have adopted this strategy have experienced such a reduction in congestion that in-office wait times are almost non-existent.

Learn More About Delivering Holistic, Patient-Centered Care

Patient-centered care is at the forefront of improving the offerings at Federally Qualified Health Centers. If you need assistance integrating technology to better meet the needs and expectations of your patients, the experts at Hartman Executive Advisors can help. Reach out to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment to get started.

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