Benefits of Cloud software | Video Overview | The 5 key features you need | Four key benefits of using an online portal for a healthcare clinic | How do patient portals improve patient engagement? | What is a Patient Portal? | What our customers are saying | Why digital signatures work for your clinic
The benefits of Cloud based software for your clinic
We are all now familiar with the term Cloud computing, or being on the Cloud, but many clinicians and business owners are often still not fully aware of what that actually means, or the real advantages that Cloud delivers for them.
The Cloud simply refers to a solution or software package that is not hosted on a specific machine that you own locally, but is stored on the internet and available via a login from any online device.
To use an easily understood example, Microsoft Word was not originally a Cloud based product - you bought a licence, installed it on your machine or server and any documents you created were stored on that machine. You had to put them on a USB drive or email them to yourself if you wanted to edit them at home or from a different machine.
Google docs is a Cloud based alternative. Simply log in to your google account and your documents are accessible from any device at any time, can be shared and edited in real time with others, and are always backed up to the most recent version.
This model offers so much more convenience for users, and control for suppliers to ensure that the best and most modern version of software is always in use, and uniform security controls and standards apply to all users.
Over the last decade Cloud computing has become the norm in the software service sector. Personal banking, email, social media, document storage, accountancy & payment handling software all commonly rely on the Cloud to deliver their services seamlessly and efficiently to customers.
In the Practice Management Software sector, Cloud-based solutions have existed for some years. AeronaClinic was one of the very first 100% Cloud products in the European market in 2010. In recent years a range of Cloud, and partially Cloud solutions have emerged.
There are a number of very clear advantages to Cloud solutions in the Practice Management sector that are driving high levels of uptake from Clinics and have ensured that Cloud is the platform of choice for the modern and growing business.
- No upfront costs for software licences or hardware
There may be a small set-up fee for a Cloud solution but there are no significant licence fees or any need for new hardware. A regular monthly subscription, with the flexibility to add, reduce, pause or switch suppliers and features, is a key attraction of the Cloud. You can go live with your new software tomorrow without any significant spend.
- No new hardware required
Your software will work with any internet enabled device and you do not need a server, or any complicated hardware in your practice. Your need for IT support within the business will be removed or reduced substantially.
- Data compliance and security
The Cloud is one of the most secure data environments out there. A good provider will be using a data partner with advanced encryption features and multi-site backups that ensure that your data is protected and always available, 24/7 with no downtime. No more worrying about server maintenance or failure, power outages and data security compliance. And you’ll never have to worry about missing a system backup again.
- Ongoing system updates, auto installed in real time
A Cloud solution will be updated on a regular basis with upgrades and improvements to ensure that issues around compliance, security, speed and functionality are continuously addressed and improved. Cloud suppliers are responsive to customer feedback and often roll out new functionality in response to demand, all for no extra cost as part of your monthly subscription.
- Access from any device, at any time, from any location
Cloud-based means access from any online device, at any time, from any location. This means that you can monitor your business from your phone, work from anywhere and deliver quality service to your patients remotely and contactlessly before and after treatment. Your team can work in real time on admin, clinical and business functions from anywhere and all updates are shared in real time across the system for all users.
- Ease of use
Because they are regularly updated and are modern solutions, Cloud systems tend to be easy to use and intuitive to learn. The core elements of many desktop systems are more than twenty years old and they look and feel it!
- Wide ranging feature-set
Cloud systems are scalable and responsive, integrating with a range of other softwares (for imaging, finance etc) and also supporting key features such as integrated video consultations, secure online signing and sharing of documents and online patient communication and engagement tools.
When the benefits of Cloud-based systems are laid out like this, it is very clear why Cloud is the platform of choice in the Practice Management software market today. It is cheaper, more secure, more convenient, more accessible, and the most up to date way to run your business. It is really the only logical choice for the informed clinic or practice.
An Overview of AeronaClinic - Watch Now!
AeronaClinic is the most feature-rich Practice Management & Dental Software Solution on the market. Engineered to save you time and money, engage your patients online, and manage your business from any device, anytime. AeronaClinic starts working for you and your patients the moment you make the switch.
Our team at Aerona are here to help and advise with the whole process. Contact us today to find out more.
The five key features that you need from your Practice Management Software
Your choice of Practice Management Software is absolutely critical to the success and growth of your business. You and your team will be spending up to eight hours a day logged into the system and using it to run and monitor many of the core tasks that your practice performs all day, every day - so it needs to be a real friend to all of you!
The best systems start by doing the basic things very well and then layering features and functionality from there. A strong foundation in Appointment, Patient and Financial management is the bedrock of a successful product, and additional layers of Analytics, Business Growth and Communication tools are the extras that turn a useful tool into an essential one that will pay for itself many times over, and add value throughout your practice.
So let’s take a look at the five key features that you simply must get from your Practice Management Software.
- An easy-to-use Online Appointment Management system.
Your day book is the engine of your business and a solution that is flexible, scalable and easy to use with drag and drop functionality is essential. Plans change and events happen, so your appointment system needs to be able to react and ensure that your daily plans can adapt to these changing needs.
It also needs to be accessible online, not just allowing patients to book appointments from their phone or laptop, but also for your team to be able respond with agility to cancellations, sickness and issues as they arise.
- Seamless, Online Patient Management.
If you are not engaging your patients online then you are really going to struggle to engage them at all. You need your practice management system to offer online appointments and payments as a matter of course, but also to allow for online treatment plan approval, submission of medical histories and secure signing of forms by patients. With a digital relationship built through these tools, managing your patients comes at the touch of a button, and direct marketing can be targeted with real precision and impact.
These online functions must be integrated seamlessly into your system and deliver a frictionless, unobtrusive patient experience that you can manage from any device, 24/7 wherever you are.
- Treatment and Clinical Planning that is efficient, shareable and secure
Integrated Charting and Treatment Planning supports compliance, improves patient safety and is a must for any practice management solution. Digital charting that is intuitive, uncluttered and clear for both practitioner and patient to read is also essential for confidence, clarity and communication.
The real game-changer for the best systems out there is the ability to share and sign treatment plans digitally with your patients. Discussing a treatment plan in clinic; working up a range of different clinical and financial options; and securely sending them to a patient for consideration, digital signing and return from the comfort of their own home and in consultation with their families, makes for better decisions and improved opportunities for enhanced treatments to be delivered.
- Powerful Financial Management tools
The ability to integrate with your accountancy software and deliver accurate financial information across your practice, segmented by clinician/treatment room, treatment type etc, is a must have for any Practice Management Software.
A system that keeps track of all monies owed, paid, refunded, deferred and pre-paid, and that provides you with detailed reports on all of this is essential for any practice manager or business owner to keep ahead of the key metrics. Add this functionality to online payment solutions and you are fully equipped for cashless and paperless transactions across your practice.
- Detailed Business Performance Analytics - using your data to fuel growth
The best Practice Management Solutions don’t just make your life easier day to day, they also work hard to help you to grow your business.
As a practice owner you need to keep at least one step ahead in understanding how your business is performing and identifying areas for growth and development. Knowing your ADY is one thing, but the ability to know which treatments, which clinicians and which appointment-slots are performing best for you, gives you the knowledge you need to plan promotions, manage resources and maximise your revenues and results.
Your Practice Management Solution should deliver this rich information to you in an easy to read and understand format, and be available to you when and wherever you need it.
And of course, all of these features must be delivered in an integrated package which is secure, very easy and intuitive to use, and accessible from anywhere.
Communication and task management tools that run right across all of the system’s functions are a must - including the online management of all recall and reminder functions, and added features such as online video consultation, dedicated insurance claim processing tools, and lead management are the extras that really set the very best solutions apart from the rest.
Practice Management Software is a critical decision for your business and you need to be fully informed before you make your decision. Our team at Aerona are here to help and advise with the whole process. Contact us today to find out more.
Four key benefits of using an online portal for a healthcare clinic
If you are looking at Practice Management Software then you are almost certainly looking at an online Portal too.
Your software will provide all of the core Business, Clinical, Administrative and Business Growth support that you need to run and develop your practice effectively. It should also provide solutions around compliance, communication and patient engagement, as well as helping to handle all of your insurance claims processes, if its a high quality system.
The online Portal that your Practice Management solution should offer is something different though. The Portal will give you the power to reach your patients, and your patients to reach you, at their convenience, direct to their personal device, wherever and whenever they want.
This level of control and convenience is essential for any modern business, and even more so in the post-lockdown environment. We are increasingly used to managing our professional and personal affairs online, through our phone or tablet. A good quality portal ensures that you can access your dentist or clinic in the same way as you can access your bank, fitness app or social media.
- So, the first clear benefit of an online Portal is access. Access for your patients to your clinic to book appointments; make payments; change their contact details; choose and approve treatment options; sign consents and securely submit medical information.
But also access for you to your patients. The trusted communication that a Portal offers is a powerful tool for you to engage your patients around targeted offers for treatments, timeslots and practitioners that they are interested in without relying on reaching them through all of the noise in their email inbox.
- Beyond access, using a Portal can also have a direct impact on your bottom line within the practice, offering real savings in time and money and improving your audit trail for patient relationships. Adoption of a Portal across the practice reduces time spent on the phone making appointments, time spent processing payments and time spent chasing up payments.
All of this makes for a significant cost saving in itself, but the automation of booking, payment, medical histories and treatment approvals means that there is a record of all transactions captured in your Practice Management system in real-time - no more confusion over missed appointments or payments, and as an added bonus it allows you to become a paperless practice, stripping out those paper, ink and secure storage costs, as well reducing your carbon footprint!
- Used correctly, an online Portal can also make a significant contribution to improved patient outcomes and treatment uptake. A Portal will allow you to present a patient with a range of appropriate treatment options, with the time and space to outline the benefits of each.
Sending this information securely in writing allows a considered decision to be made, with an informed patient often opting for the highest level of treatment available, and an informed clinician able to use the Portal as a communication channel to offer pre and post treatment care and education to deliver the best possible patient outcomes.
- The fourth key benefit of an online Portal for your Practice really focuses on the role that it can play in building long-term trusted relationships with your patients.
Used correctly, a Patient Portal builds a very positive association between a clinic and its patients. You will become a trusted source of information and assistance, delivering high levels of satisfaction and developing loyal and retained patients.
Users have transparency and control in their relationship with the practice and you are able to deliver and respond to patient satisfaction surveys, targeted offers, recommend a friend promotions, and open up a new direct communication channel with your core customers.
The real question for any modern clinic considering an online or Patient Portal as part of their Practice Management is not why, but why not. It is a gamechanger for any practice that will rapidly become embedded as an essential and indispensable business tool that you, your team and your patients love!
To find out more about Aerona’s Patient Portal please get in touch today.
How do patient portals improve patient engagement?
Patient Portals have become a feature of Practice Management Software in recent years, with many suppliers offering versions of them to their customers. Since 2020 and the impact of COVID on patient behaviour, a Patient Portal has become a core essential of any clinic’s offer to its patients.
But what actually is a Patient Portal and how should they actually be used as business growth and patient engagement tools?
Put simply, a Patient Portal is a direct online connection between a patient and your practice that allows them to access whatever services you have made available to them, and allows you to access them with targeted communications. The Patient Portal is a secure, privileged connection that is not available to the general public and shortcuts a call to reception, emailing or messaging.
For the patient, the key advantage is of convenience - they can make fast and direct contact with the Clinic and, the more services that you make available through the Portal, the more convenience they can enjoy. This access is 24/7 - whenever they need it, rather than just whenever you are open.
For the Clinic, a quality Patient Portal can provide a powerful tool for improving the customer experience of patients, delivering improved outcomes, and ultimately retaining and growing your patient base. With a critical mass of patients using a Portal, it will also save admin time and money in appointment booking, payment processing and other functions across your practice.
The key to real and deep patient engagement through a Portal is the range of services that you are able to offer through it. The more that you can offer, then the stronger the relationship you can develop through it.
- Appointment booking
This is the core service that any Patient Portal should offer to a clinic. The ability for a patient to book an appointment online at any time offers real convenience and is a powerful incentive to get patients signed up to your Portal. You will need to manage factors such as diary blocking and taking deposits to reduce any FTA risk, but once you have a smooth online appointment booking process you will never look back.
- Payment processing
Not only very useful for taking deposits for online appointments, online payments offer huge convenience for patients and clinics. Patients should be able to make payments for treatments, plans and products through the Portal. You can also alert them to overdue payments and set up payment plans for large treatments.
- Secure signing
A good quality Patient Portal will offer secure e-signing of documents, allowing patients time to review treatment plans, complete medical histories and return them as legally signed documents to the Practice - all from their own device in their own time, with the time and space that they need to give accurate information.
- Update information
A simple but very useful function of a Patient Portal is to allow patients to keep all of their details and clinical information up to date - never lose contact with a patient again. You can also use the portal to inform patients of changes at the practice - whether to the practice team, contact details or in the case of emergency measures such as has been the case with COVID opening hours and services.
- Video consultation
The best Patient Portals will use the secure connection with the patient to offer built in video consultations for triage, pre & post treatment care and patient education. These services offer real added value to patients, improve outcomes and give real competitive advantage to your Clinic.
- Targeted sales and business growth
The more functionality that you can offer to your patients, the deeper the relationship that you can develop with them through the Portal. Using the business metrics and data analysis tools on your Practice Management Software, you can identify patient spends, trends, and behaviours and use the Portal to target them directly with specific offers, promotions, and services of value. The trusted relationship that effective use of the Portal fosters makes this a powerful sales channel if used appropriately.
Patient Portals were already a key tool for any progressive Clinic, but in the COVID and Post-COVID era they have become essential for safer, quicker and cleaner working practices that really offer high levels of care and connection for patients, wherever they are. Optimised correctly, a Patient Portal i probably the most important tool for practice growth that any Clinic can have.
Find out more about the AeronaClinic Patient Portal here
What is a Patient Portal and how does it improve my business?
Many practice management systems now offer a Patient Portal as a key feature, and the terminology has become well and truly embedded in the clinical and dental sectors. But what does it actually mean? What is a Patient Portal and how might it actually help you in the day to day operation of your practice?
Put simply, a Patient Portal is a secure digital entry point for any of your patients to access your practice online. This might be through an App on their phone, tablet or computer, or just through an online login that is protected with a password.
The benefit of this for patients is the huge convenience in being able to get information and perform key functions without having to call the practice or work around your opening hours.
The benefit for you is not just in meeting patient needs for flexible access, but in reducing time spent on the phone at reception, creating an audit trail of interactions, and automating the initial elements of the patient journey.
The real power of the Patient Portal, and the real benefits that it will bring to your business, depend on the level of functionality that is offered.
- The best solutions are cloud based - offering not just online-anytime access to patients, but also to your team at the back end to respond to events as they arise and tailor your Portal offering in real-time.
- Appointment booking that integrates directly with your wider system and shows real-time availability should be a given for any Portal, but online payment processing to allow deposits to be taken for online appointments to reduce FTA rates and add real value to online bookings.
- Online payments should not be restricted to appointment bookings, but work across all treatments and any other bills arising from the Practice. Tools such as Stripe and GoCardless should be integrated to allow your patients to pay or pre-pay remotely, with full audit trail and integration to your Practice Management solution.
- Advanced features of the most powerful Patient Portal solutions should include the ability to securely send, review and sign medical histories, treatment plans and patient consents. The best Patient Portals allow all of this to be done online, paperlessly and with a full audit trail in place. This gives you the opportunity to present a range of treatment options to your patients; allows them the time to fully consider them; and offers real scope for upselling and on-selling comprehensive solutions.
- The most modern Patient Portal solutions, such as AeronaClinic, also allow for video consultation to be delivered direct between patient and practitioner. This offers a hugely increased scope for pre and and post treatment care, emergency triaging, patient education and training around oral health. These are not just additional revenue streams but also support patient recruitment and retention across your practice.
All of these benefits are in addition to the simple convenience of patients being able to update their own contact and payment details quickly and easily; and the real power that comes from the development of a trusted digital relationship between Practice and patient.
Once you have regular seamless contact through your Patient Portal, you have opened up a powerful channel to engage your patient directly and target very specific product and marketing offers to them.
Correct use of your Patient Portal drives patient retention and yield across your practice; saves you time and money; and reduces physical contact across the patient journey. A good quality Patient Portal is not just an attractive addition to your Practice Management solution, it is a real engine for growth and development in your business.
Find out more about the AeronaClinic Patient Portal today!
A Guide to engaging Your Patients Online
Online engagement is now a must-have for your patients
Online engagement of customers is essential for any modern business to grow. For the clinical and dental sector this is even more of an issue. Once they have joined a practice, patients are not generally casual shoppers, but clients with whom we develop a relationship that will ideally last for years and grow to include entire families.
In this context online is crucial. Now more than ever, we spend so much of our lives online. We expect to be able to do all of our banking, deal with our phone and utility suppliers, and do ever-increasing amounts of shopping over the internet.
Online is trusted as a secure and convenient platform, and mobile has put the internet into the palm of our hands. If your Clinic or Practice has the tools to engage your customers with a seamless, accessible and unobtrusive online experience, then you can become a trusted and positive source of knowledge and support for your patients whenever and wherever they need you.
Building these relationships takes time and a consistent approach, but it is not difficult with the right tools and the right strategy.
The key tool that you will need is a high quality Practice Management Solution that offers a Patient Portal with rich functionality and the ability to share and digitally sign documents.
The initial step with using a Portal for online engagement is to get your patients registered to use it. You can sell it to them through sheer convenience, but you may also wish to offer a small discount on online appointment bookings, or entry into a draw, to encourage rapid adoption from your patients.
Even for an increasingly digitally savvy population change can be hard, so an incentive for them to add your practice app or link to your portal can be influential in nudging your patients online.
Once you have established your online connection with your patient then you need to consider the services that you are going to offer them. Online appointment bookings and payments are a must, but managing the process needs some thought. It may be advisable to require a deposit for appointments booked online to reduce FTA’s and to allocate certain times in the diary for online bookings.
You will need to consider how far in advance online bookings should be taken to achieve a balance between convenience for your patients and allowing you enough time to ensure that you fill your appointment books, and you will need to work out the best use of online payments for your practice and your patients.
The real new value of online engagement can be found in the added value that you can offer to your patients, and the potential revenue streams that you can develop.
A natural progression from appointment bookings and payments is to use your Portal to securely share documents with patients. Pre-appointment questionnaires and consent forms can be processed online at the convenience and comfort of your patient, whilst reducing your administrative burden.
With Treatment Plans, online engagement can offer real value to your practice. Treatment options can be discussed and outlined in clinic, but then a range of potential treatments can be shared with a patient through the Portal. With extra time and information, better informed decisions are made and the full implications of each option are better understood.
This supports improved patient outcomes, but also opportunities to ensure that patients focus on the treatment required and the benefits to them, rather than just the potential cost.
With all patient forms, consents and Treatment Plans, digital signing is a key element of online engagement. E-signing supports compliance, is more secure, more convenient, and more efficient for you. It also promotes your Clinic as a modern, switched-on business to your patients.
These functions all offer real value to your business by streamlining and enhancing existing functions, but a well planned online engagement strategy can also help you to develop new revenue streams and the kind of added value that helps you to retain and grow your patient base.
Once you have established a secure and trusted online connection with your patients you can begin to target them with educational information around oral hygiene, preventative care etc.
This may be free for them to access as an added value offer that builds your brand, or it may be offered with promotional offers for services and equipment, or it may be a paid extra that you create bespoke content for and offer a high-quality experience to your higher-value patients.
If you are using a good quality Practice Management software system then you will also be offered online video consultation through the Portal - this is a powerful tool for patient engagement. Beyond the obvious use as a triaging tool for emergency treatments, video consultation allows you to build rich relationships through pre and post treatment in-person support - checking in with your patients to advise and explain and give them a high level of care and attention.
Through the enhanced relationships that these services develop with your patients you are then able to use your online engagement strategy to understand key patient behaviours, needs and spend patterns. With this information you can tailor offers and promotions to your patients which meet both their clinical needs and your business needs, a win/win for everyone!
As we’ve seen, online is now the key place to be for your patients. They are there already and expect you to be too. A well thought out online engagement strategy, supported by the right online tools, will keep your business ahead of customer demand and help you to keep your existing patients and attract new ones, whilst adding value across your Practice.
For more information about AeronaClinic’s online engagement tools, get in touch with our team today!
What our customers are saying about our online software solution
Check out more about what our customers are saying. Watch this video from Hartley Dental and see how AeronaClinic changed how they managed their clinic.
Why digital signatures work for your clinic
Of all of the technological innovations in recent years, digital signatures can be one of the hardest to really understand. How can a scrawl on a e-pad or a computer generated signature replicate what we have come to understand as legally binding signatures?
Despite this initial questions, digital signatures are increasingly embedded across the clinical sector and if you are not already using them, then you soon will be. Once understood, the advantages of e-signing are so clear and overwhelming that you will be making the switch as soon as you can!
There are four key areas in which digital signing delivers for your Practice and for your patients.
Compliance - Digital signing has full legal equivalence with signing by hand in many countries around the world. In recent years, most countries worldwide have adopted legislation and regulations that recognise the legality of digital signatures and deem it a binding signature.
In Europe, thanks to the eIDAS regulation, we have a legal platform, that allows the cross border usage and validation of electronic signatures. Under this regulation all signature types are treated equally in court.
Digital signatures provide authenticity and ensure that the signers identity is verified. This can stand in any court of law like any other signed paper document. By choosing a solution that is compliant to the relevant regulation, you ensure yourself to be compliant to these legal requirements.
Security - When it comes to signatures, authenticity and security are priorities. Electronic signatures are already more secure than signing by hand on paper and, as technology advances, they are becoming even more secure all of
With the encryption of documents, you have the guarantee that documents have remained unchanged after signing, and with a digital signature you always sign the entire document - there is no risk that some pages have been added or removed afterwards.
Digital signatures are also secure in that they are less error prone. Manual checks are a higher risk than automated processes.
Efficiency - In a busy practice, time spent issuing clipboards to patients, chasing up signatures, scanning documents for upload into files or printing them out in hard copy is tedious, time-consuming and open to errors at every stage. Introducing e-signatures streamlines the entire process, improves compliance and security and frees up staff time for other duties.
Stripping out another element of paper from your processes also reduces costs for ink, materials and file storage, and reduces your carbon footprint.
Patient Experience - In the pre-covid era, e-signing gave a positive perception to patients of a modern, efficient and switched on practice. If you use this kind of technology in your basic operations, then there is a real sense that you apply the same quality and modernity to your clinical treatments.
In the post-covid era, all of this still applies, but with the added comfort for the patient of a safer, contactless interaction.
Digital signing is faster, cleaner and more convenient for your patients. No more looking for pens, wondering where and in how many places they have to sign, or keeping track of mixed paper and digital patient notes.
Digital signing is a simple and easy to implement feature of any good quality Practice Management Software solution, and one that can make a real difference to your business. The benefits are real both for you as a practice owner and for your patients.
When delivered as part of a wider online engagement strategy for patients and customers it is a key element in the digital transformation and future-proofing of your business.