As inflation and an ever-changing economy continue to impact communities across America, the affordability and accessibility of healthcare remains a major concern for low- and middle-income individuals. Federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) that these individuals rely on for healthcare must adopt more effective technology practices in order to meet the needs of their patients and streamline their services.
Why Is Technology Important For FQHCs?
FQHCs are more in demand than ever, and with that rising engagement comes a greater patient burden. According to a study by Sling Health, the adoption and implementation of advanced technologies is directly correlated with the improvement of patients’ lives and their respective treatments. It is critical that FQHCs implement effective technology to improve patient outcomes, make their services more accessible and better manage their operations.
Significantly Improve Patient Care
One of the greatest hurdles for many FQHC patients is the time commitment associated with in-person appointments. Offering telehealth visits as an option can allow more patients to be seen with less overhead, and make it easier for patients to attend and keep their appointments.
Technology also facilitates the opportunity for automatic appointment reminders and faster referrals to specialists.
Comply With Federal Regulations
For federally-qualified health centers, federal regulations are a part of everyday processes. Technology helps FQHCs capture valuable data to ensure that facilities are serving the needs of their target population—a requirement for access to grants. Additionally, billing, sliding scale fees and service reimbursement for Medicare are all regular aspects of compliance that can be tracked and kept in order using software designed for that purpose.
Deliver Important Information To Patients
From appointment reminders to an individual’s personal healthcare files and charts, a secure online portal allows FQHCs to remain in contact with patients in the time between appointments. A patient portal also improves the action time after a potential HIPAA violation so that a facility can keep information secure and in compliance. When an FQHC has the ability to deliver important information to patients immediately, the patients are less likely to miss appointments, forget to bring documentation with them, or fail to schedule follow-up visits.
Prescribe Medications And Prognoses Electronically
One of the most significant steps forward in FQHCs technology is the ability to prescribe medications electronically. With the proper setup, patients can request refills online without ever needing to visit the office.
This opens appointment times for other patients in need while reducing the financial and time burden of visits for those in need of refills. And since electronic communication is fast and easy, refills are more likely to be filled in a timely manner—before a patient runs out of their current dose.
How FQHCs Can Adopt Technology And Digital Transformation
The specific technology that could most benefit FQHCs varies depending upon the systems already in place and the types of services they provide most often. However, general improvements include opening the option for telehealth visits and bolstering electronic health records (EHRs) so they are available to patients.
Develop An Electronic Health Record System
A competent EHR system benefits both the FQHC and the patient. Care providers spend less time managing and inputting the same information over and over, so their attention can remain focused on patient care. Similarly, patients gain immediate access to their records to view, download and share them as necessary—fulfilling Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.
Create A Telehealth Strategy For Remote Patients
As mentioned previously, telehealth is one of the single most powerful improvements that technology can offer to a federally-qualified health center. It opens up the practice to more patients, especially those with accessibility challenges, and eliminates the time burns that occur in gradual increments during the day for in-person visits: document processing during check-in, walking to and from an office, and more.
Work With A Health IT Strategy Partner
FQHC leaders understand how important technology is to their operations, but often don’t know where to start down the right path – or how to course correct if something is not turning out as planned. A strategic IT consulting firm with expertise in the FQHC market can offer unbiased, third-party. guidance and suggestions to help internal leaders develop and execute an IT roadmap that aligns with the needs of the business and maximize their ROI on technology.
Speak With Hartman About Adopting Technology
The experts at Hartman Executive Advisors can provide industry-specific guidance to FQHCs to streamline operations while remaining compliant and improving patient care. Reach out to request a consultation to learn more or get started.