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Practice Management and Beyond

Much of the discussion around digitization in businesses has focused on manufacturing and logistics. However, technology is playing an increasingly important role in traditional service businesses as well. Nowhere has this been more evident than in medical practices.

Recently released research by the AMA documents rapidly rising rates of digital health adoption among physicians. For example, from 2016 to 2022, the average number of digital tools used by doctors’ offices nearly doubled from 2.2 in 2016 to nearly 4.0 in 2022; and the percentage of physicians using tele-visits spiked from 14% to 80% (largely due to the COVID pandemic) over the same period.*

Digitization offers busy physicians important benefits. For example, widely available practice management software solutions automate time-consuming back-office functions, such as scheduling, billing, handling insurance claims, and processing payments. When cloud-based and connected with electronic health care records data sources, these solutions also allow for better, more secure data management and improved access to patient records.

Beyond practice management, digitization provides the backbone technology empowering the wave to tele-health and other remote healthcare services, including the development of informed and interactive patient portals. And looking forward, advances in AI and machine learning are showing increasing promise in aiding diagnostics and digital therapeutics.

And other practice owners can follow the lead of physicians. For practice owners interested in going digital, we offer the following tips:

  • Start with a website. Develop a custom website for your practice that is SEO-optimized for your industry, with options for secure client access through password protected portals.
  • Digitize your clients’ records through an electronic system, such as a medical record system (EMR/EMH) that automates the documentation, storage, and retrieval of patient or clients’ histories and records.
  • Select a practice management software solution to manage office operations. Consider the benefits of a cloud-based option that can be easily integrated with an EMR or other system.
  • Make sure you protect your data with high levels of encryption and anonymization.

The digital revolution is proving to have as significant an impact on service businesses as on those engaged in manufacturing or distribution. If you are weighing a digital transformation of your professional practice, we at Washington Trust are here to help you secure financing as you define your strategy and implement your digital initiatives.

* AMA Study: Physicians Increasingly Adopting Digital Health Tools, Hea!thcare Innovation, September 13, 2022.

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