Managing Your Practice

4 technology tools ObGyns 
can apply in practice

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A boom in technology has yielded helpful tools to streamline your practice and keep patients satisfied

In this Article

  • Voice recognition software lets you look at your patient
  • Patients can retrieve online lab results


 

References

Over the past 15 years a technological tsunami has swept through the health care industry, and few physicians were prepared for the changes wrought by this tidal wave. It now is clear, however, that we are and will have to continue to navigate a future increasingly powered and populated by technology if we are to be successful clinicians. In addition, we must learn to take advantage of all that technology has to offer without compromising the quality of care and compassion we offer our patients. We are fortunate that technology has much to offer to enhance patient care.

One big change under way: Technology 
is leveling the playing field between 
doctors—once the high priests of medicine—and ordinary people. SMART (social, mobile, aware, and real-time) technologies such as cloud computing will broaden the setting of health care interventions from hospital rooms and doctors’ offices to patients’ everyday lives. Cloud computing involves the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a desktop computer located in the doctor’s office. It is possible that, instead of being episodic, health care will be conducted continuously—and anywhere the patient wants it.

Without a doubt, the pace at which new technology affects our lives is increasing at lightning speeds. Today, 29% of Americans say their phone is the first and the last thing they look at each day, a telling sign of how dependent we are becoming on technology.1 In this article, we look at 4 technologies that can be effective in the clinical setting, attracting new patients and enhancing productivity, communication, and patient care.

1. A mobile-friendly Web site

According to Wikipedia, there are 
327,577,529 mobile phones in the 
United States, give or take a few thousand. As of July 4, 2014, the US population was 318,881,992. That means there are more mobile phones in this country than there 
are people!2

Mobile phones are becoming more like personal assistants than phones. People are not just making calls, they’re buying movie tickets, checking the weather, sending and receiving emails, texting, making reservations, checking Web sites … and the list goes on.

According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 62% of smartphone owners have used it to look up information on a health condition.3 Moreover, 15% of smartphone owners say they have a limited number of ways to access the Internet other than their cell phone.3

All the more reason for your Web site to be mobile-friendly. With a mobile- 
friendly site, the content is displayed in a more streamlined fashion on mobile phones, with larger type to make it more readable. See, for example, the FIGURE, which shows Dr. Baum’s regular Web site side by side with the mobile-friendly view.

The Web site of Neil H. Baum, MD, as viewed from a desktop or laptop computer (A) and a smartphone (B).

There is another reason why you should ensure that your site is mobile-friendly: Google recently changed its algorithms so that, when someone searches for information on a mobile phone, only mobile- 
friendly sites make it into the top search results. Google wants mobile phone users to have a positive experience online. It is so adamant about this desire that it will lower your rankings or not show your Web site at all in search results if you fail to comply.

New patient acquisition is critical for any ObGyn practice, and we already know that just about everyone goes online to search for health information and solutions to their medical problems. If you want your practice to survive and thrive, you need to attract new patients online. If a visitor to your site cannot read the text and has to keep resizing the screen and scrolling left and right, you will lose that visitor in a hurry.

We all want to find what we are looking for quickly. In our experience, when we check Google Analytics reports for our 
ObGyn clients, we find that visitors to a nonresponsive site spend much less time there and do not visit as many pages as they do when a site is mobile-responsive.

To check your Web site’s mobile rating, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly. Google also offers tips on making your site mobile-friendly at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001177?hl=en.

Once your site is up to snuff, you should test it from multiple devices to ensure that the pages are easily readable on all types of phones and computers.

Next Article:

ICD-10-CM documentation 
and coding for obstetric procedures

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