How to Automate Your Clinical Workflow: 8 Improvements from Front Desk to Back-Office

Physical therapy practices can automate your clinical workflows to become more efficient. Learn how to save time every day!
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When you look at your clinical “workflow,” you’re identifying the everyday routines and tasks that keep your business running. In a physical therapy or rehab practice, many procedures need to be done repeatedly — and done right — to keep the wheels turning. That includes following up with referrals, patient check-in, dealing with clinical claims… The list could go on, as you well know!

Now, creating an “automated workflow” takes this idea to the next level by technologizing those routines. Businesses like hospitals, physical therapy clinics, or private practices can use software to build efficient clinical workflows and handle high-volume tasks. Keep reading to learn how your practice can save time in meaningful ways every day, from the front desk to back-office.

Why Should You Automate Your Clinical Workflows?

The healthcare industry, including therapy and rehab service providers, is growing rapidly. Honestly, for many therapy practices, it can be hard to keep up. To handle the complexity of patient care and administrative tasks, therapy professionals are turning to automation technology. And for good reason! Automation is a game-changer.

Automating clinical workflows can help you:

  • Improve patient acquisition, retention, and treatment outcomes
  • Track your practice’s productivity and KPIs
  • Increase profitability by reducing errors and improving efficiencies
  • Streamline everyday tasks such as lead tracking, patient check-in, and payment management

By using physical therapy software like Raintree’s All-in-One EMR, therapy providers can stay on top of your clinical processes and goals. Let’s explore specific ways technology can help you optimize front- and back-office practice operations. 

Front-Office Automations

No one likes a hold up at the front desk! Adopting a top-notch EMR can free up time for your front office staff to focus on your clinical staff’s and patients’ needs. Here are some popular automations to keep your front office on-point:

1. Digitize Referral and Lead Intake

Did you know that multitasking isn’t actually effective? Spreading your focus too thin can lead to stress or simple mistakes. Thankfully, one simple way to reduce the gear-shifting in your front office is to digitize the process of collecting new patient information. The benefits will become apparent right away.

For one thing, encouraging patients to fill out digital forms before their appointments can dramatically slash time in the waiting room. This option is especially appealing to patients who prefer a self-directed check-in process. Automation of these processes also allows you and your team to maintain attention on the tasks at-hand, thereby reducing wasted time, minimizing data entry errors, and eliminating inefficient, stressful repetitive processes. The icing on the cake? You can even feel great about reducing your practice’s paper waste.

2. Streamline Schedules with Automated Text Messaging

Scheduling appointments and adjusting around no-shows is another responsibility for front desk employees. It can easily bog down your day — but worry not! There’s a solution for this, too, and it’s literally right at your patients’ fingertips. That’s right: texting. Among American adults, 97% text weekly. So why not meet your patients where they’re at?

Using an automated texting service is a low-cost, user-friendly method for streamlining appointment scheduling for your practice. Patients who opt-in to receive automated appointment reminders are more likely to make their appointments. You can make it even more convenient for everyone with an option for cancellation and/or rescheduling via text, as well!

3. Advanced Waitlist Functionality

Tired of spending countless hours trying to fill cancelled or rescheduled appointment slots at your PT practice? Well, with an advanced waitlist function as part of your streamlined front office software, those days are over. Say goodbye to the tedious task of manually managing your waitlist, and hello to optimized scheduling. An automated waitlist tool streamlines the process, helps front office staff prevent burnout, and helps more patients access treatment quickly.

4. Speedy Check-in with a Patient-Friendly Kiosk

Let’s be honest. It’s 2023. More and more, patients expect a seamless and modern healthcare experience. Patient check-in kiosks, for example, allow new and existing patients to check themselves in without help from the front desk staff. Patients should receive and complete all relevant clinic forms and intake paperwork as well, with ease and convenience. In that way, digital intake kiosks can improve patient satisfaction by reducing wait times and simplifying payments.

You might be wondering: How can self check-in kiosks simplify payments? With our solution, advanced payment options can be included via automated email or text message to patients. After check-in, they’ll be able to receive their digital eStatements and a secure links to collect payment on the spot, without requiring portal logins or the download of an app.

5. Automation of Eligibility and Authorizations

Do you find that prior authorization management can be confusing and cause miscommunication between your front office staff and patients? Well, automating your prior authorization process through your workflow can help alleviate these issues. By integrating an automation platform, you can guide patients through the process of auto-filling payer data and background information for prior authorization requirements.

Not only does this save time, but it also eliminates the risk of manual errors and ensures that the process is completed smoothly. Plus, if manual input is needed, the platform will prompt for it, making the entire process more seamless. By automating your prior authorization management, you can create a stress-free patient experience and improve communication between patients and clinical staff. So, why not make the switch and see the benefits for yourself? 

Back-Office Automations

The back office staff in a PT or rehab practice are responsible for tasks related to the administrative, financial, and logistical aspects of the practice, such as managing patient records, billing and coding, inventory management, and more. Here are some tips for running a tight ship when it comes to back-office operations.​

6. Automation of Denials with Real Claim Status Responses

Working in the rehab and physical therapy industry, you know that recent events have placed an enormous strain on healthcare organizations’ bottom lines. Rising costs, lagging patient volume, wage inflation, and pandemic-driven uncertainty have all taken their toll.

Unresolved denials of claims represent an average annual loss of $5 million. By implementing automation technology, you can remove the stressful task of managing denied claims from your back-office personnel. With automated claim management, you can ensure that claims are accurately processed and denied claims are quickly addressed, reducing the risk of significant financial loss for your practice.

7. Automation of the Appeals Processes

As a healthcare provider, you know that appealing a denied claim can be a tedious and time-consuming process. It can also be frustrating when human error gets in the way of your practice receiving the payment it deserves. That’s where automation comes in. By automating the appeals process, you can decrease the likelihood of human error and ensure that your claims are processed accurately and efficiently.

8. Keeping Up with Coding Rules

You’re probably aware that clinical coding rules and requirements have become more complex in recent years. Your back-office personnel charged with correctly coding your claims must have a deep clinical understanding and be able to code with greater speed and accuracy than ever before. This alone is a strong motivation for introducing automation into your workflow. 

You’re not alone in navigating the terrain of clinical coding. Leading EMR solutions in your specialty are keeping up with changes in real-time. With complete automation of credential-based modifiers, you can ensure that all claims are coded accurately and efficiently, freeing up your back-office personnel to focus on other critical tasks. 

How to Make the Switch

Creating new processes and expectations can be a change, but it’s worth it. And you’re in the right place to start.

Find all the features you need in a clinical management platform at Raintree. Our Software-as-a-Relationship approach and top-of-the-line EMR system will provide the efficiency you need in your office workflow. 

Schedule a demo with us to find out why Raintree is therapy and rehab’s favorite EMR!

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Blogs are created for educational and informational purposes only.  The information provided does not constitute or, is not intended to constitute, legal or medical advice. When you read this information, visit our website, or access our materials, you are not forming an attorney-client, provider-patient, or other relationship with us.

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