6 Helpful Cloud and Virtual Services for Thriving Practices
Adding some efficiency to your practice can help scale your patient care and return some life balance to yourself and your staff—and many are low-cost (or free!) solutions that can be implemented in an afternoon.
From managing the front-office phone lines to streamlining payments, a few hours invested today can save time, reduce overhead, and even improve patient care.
Remote Call Answering / Virtual Receptionist
Stop sending the people and families who need you to voicemail. For growing practices, a remote call answering service, or virtual receptionist, can help ensure patients and potential patients calling your office receive timely service while you focus on your appointments.
Best For: Practices without a full-time front office
These services typically work with you and your phone company to route your practice’s existing phone number through the service. (No new phone numbers or other updates required.) Plus, many of these services offer 24-hour coverage, allowing your phones to be covered just enough to balance your part-time front-desk staff, or to serve as your full-time receptionist while your practice grows.
There are countless providers, but be sure that the provider you select is HIPAA compliant, experiences in serving healthcare practices, and is capable of offering you a dedicated account person or team. Some practitioners with medical specialties include AnswerComm (http://ansercomm.com), DirectLine (http://directlineinc.com), and AllCallTechnologies (http://allcalltechnologies.com).
Pricing usually depends on the amount of calls you receive and the hours/week you need your phone line covered, but some can be found starting at $50/month.
Stripe: Credit Card Payments Simplified
Fewer and fewer patients carry cash. The right credit card payment solution for your practice can help keep overhead and new technology costs low, while being more convenient for your patients.
Cost: Low (percentage of each purchase)
Best For: New practices, or traditionally cash practices
Stripe is an online payment system that connects to hundreds of useful business tools, including practice management tools like Healthie and Wellevate. This allows one account to connect to many of your practice tools.
Stripe happens to be the platform trusted by companies like Lyft and Fitbit, but their mobile payment (https://paymentforstripe.com/card-reader) app for iOS and Android allows for an affordable (and portable) front-desk solution for traditional, concierge and tele-med practices similar to other mobile apps like Square.
While a little ‘techy’ on the surface, Stripe offers a beautiful dashboard that’s a real blessing come tax preparation time. Because it’s the billing platform of Wellevate, practitioners who already have an online dispensary can use one payment platform for both in-office and online dispensaries.
DIY-Beautiful Professional Websites
Before potential patients see your well-decorated front office or experience your expertise, your website is typically their first impression.
Should your website be the best possible reflection of your practice? Sure.
Does it need to cost a small fortune? Not anymore.
Best For: Practices looking for a website refresh, or new practices
Up until a few years ago, even a basic website was a larger expense, with many affordable options such as WordPress coming with a steep learning curve. Recently, providers like Squarespace (https://www.squarespace.com/) have made it not just possible, but fairly simple for practitioners to build beautiful, functional, affordable websites. No code required.
Spending less on website development will allow you to invest a bit more in professional photography and support in planning/authoring your website’s content.
So long as you are not collecting patient information on your website, you need not invest in a very costly HIPAA-compliant web service. This means no appointment request forms, but general inquiries, contact forms, and even offering premium downloadable guides are all fine.
Insurance/Medical Billing Services
Every functional medicine professional is unique, but I’ve yet to meet one that’s as excited about billing and dealing with insurance as they are supporting patient health.
Medical billing is a tricky topic for practitioners, being too specialized a skill to expect from your front office without significant training, but not always needed to the degree that you require a full-time resource on staff.
Best For: Small-to-medium sized practices
Managed billing services like Kareo (www.kareo.com) or NueMD (www.nuemd.com) can simplify billing for small and mid-sized practices. That can bridge the gap for growing practices, and make it easier to find the perfect front-desk support by no longer having to find such specialized skills for billing. Some, such as Kareo, will even support Stripe to keep your finances consolidated and crystal clear.
Design on a Budget
In a recent episode of Best Practice, “Don’t Get Over your Head in Overhead,” Dr. Jaclyn Chasse mentions affordable options for freelance designers using contest and ‘gig,’ sites.
Best For: Small-to-large, established practices
Contest and ‘gig’ sites like Fiverr (www.fiverr.com) and 99 Designs (99designs.com) attract talented and up-and-coming freelance artists with services from software development to branding and design work. The quality of work can range greatly in these marketplaces, but each is designed so that you can review feedback and ratings of those bidding on, or entering for, your projects. Compared to the more traditional route of hiring a firm to develop your brand or designs for you, this is a very affordable alternative for growing practices.
Online Dispensary for Functional Medicine Practices
With no upfront costs, no contracts, and setup that can be completed in an afternoon (or on a brief call with our Concierge Team), Wellevate is our absolutely biased pick for the top tech for practices.
Best For: Small-to-large, established practices
For traditional practices, an online dispensary acts as an extension of your in-office dispensary, offering patients the convenience they expect in purchasing refills or product that you don’t typically stock.
For concierge, telemed, and other non-traditional practices, an online dispensary is as portable as your practice (and keeps you from sending your patients to the depths of the Amazon in search for the professional quality vitamins, supplements and personal care products you recommend).
Wellevate is a flexible platform, allowing your dispensary to be ‘open to the public,’ or by patient invitation only. As the practitioner, you’re in full control of the items in your online store—with as few or as many from Emerson Ecologics 200,000+ product catalog.
If you’re ready to learn more about online dispensaries, it’s time to meet Wellevate.