The days of healthcare professionals simply being focused on enhancing patient care and providing services to their patients are gone. Nowadays healthcare professionals are also businesses with a consequent emphasis on cost efficiency and productivity. Indeed, according to Fortune three of the top 10 companies in the US are in the healthcare sector. But whether you are a sole practitioner chiropodist, a multi-partner general medical practice or a corporate pharmaceutical company, the same principles of providing cost-effective, efficient, patient-centered services and products apply. A healthcare CMS portal is one tool available to health professionals that will achieve the twin aims of enhancing patient care and streamlining business processes. In fact, one of the great benefits of achieving streamlined processes through the CMS portal is that it frees up staff time and resources that can be focused instead directly on patient care. Read on to find out more about how a CMS portal could benefit your medical practice. Before we look at the advantages in detail, let’s first define what we mean by a CMS portal.
What Is A CMS Portal?
A CMS portal is the software that in a single platform provides all the business tools and healthcare knowledge and information your practice needs.
A healthcare CMS portal will typically include a mix of generic and healthcare-specific business tools such as:
- a document management system
- collaborative workspaces
- e-forms and workflow processes
- healthcare policies and compliance
- online training tools
- a centralized knowledge base containing information on conditions and treatments.
How Will A CMS Portal Help My Practice?
For healthcare practices the care and treatment of the patient is the top priority. Healthcare professionals are not necessarily the best administrators in the world – completing paperwork and administrative tasks is not their main focus, nor should it be. In addition, it can be difficult in a busy practice to set aside time for team briefings or internal communications. Keeping staff members updated on changes whether they be in relation to treatment options or internal administrative matters can be a struggle. Similarly, healthcare professionals do not have sufficient time to wade through endless email content, looking for that key piece of information. The data needs to be at their fingertips so that they can quickly utilize it in a patient consultation or treatment plan. Ideally, healthcare professionals should be freed up from these sorts of tasks so that they can spend more time on the important part of their jobs which is working with patients.
A CMS portal will help your practice to achieve that balance between efficiently completing necessary administrative tasks and business processes and providing better care to patients. Below we have identified five key ways in which a CMS portal will achieve this.
Staff Onboarding And Training
Continuous learning and knowledge improvement are important aspects to the progression of medicine within a practice. It is vital that staff members are kept up to date with the very latest technology, pharmaceuticals and treatment options which will make a difference to their patients. Similarly, it’s important that new health professionals joining the practice are up and running and treating patients as soon as possible.
However, due to budgetary pressures and lack of available space for traditional-style training and workshops as well as insufficient time, many practices are struggling with induction and ongoing development programs. Staff training is often an expensive process when one factors in the cost of external training providers, especially if it’s delivered off site. In addition, the costs of covering staff absences and taking them away from urgent patient-centered duties must also be included in the equation. In time poor, budget conscious environments such as health practices, often it is onboarding and training that is sacrificed in favor of patient services.
Online learning tools delivered via the CMS portal, however, offer a solution. The great advantage of e-learning is that health professionals can take part at a time that fits in around their patient schedules. They will no longer be constrained by timetables set by external parties. As all the training materials are available online, staff members can access the information anywhere and at any time: whether it be the medical facility, from home or even the local coffee shop! The training itself can be delivered in a variety of innovative ways including webinars, online video tutorials, quizzes and tests.
In addition, all the course materials, training resources, certifications and test results can be stored in one central location on the intranet. This means that staff members’ training records can be tracked, including attendance and completion. This will mean that this information such as compliance can quickly and easily be monitored by management.
Likewise, the process of onboarding of new members of staff is simplified with a CMS portal. New recruits can be educated in the vision and values of the practice and can complete all the relevant personnel requirements such as payroll and IT set up via the intranet. A CMS portal will ensure that new employees quickly become effective team members. No longer will they be spending valuable time away from their patients on induction processes and tasks.
Medical Team Knowledge Base
A CMS portal will be the centralized source of knowledge within the practice. All the latest news and information on conditions and diseases, treatment options, new drugs, medical insights and so on can now be accessed via a single platform rather than multiple databases or external websites. Nor will healthcare professionals be wasting their precious time trawling through paper-based systems, which as well as taking up a significant amount of office space, are also labor-intensive when it comes to keeping them updated. Instead, the CMS portal will provide a single voice of truth within the practice. And because the knowledge CMS portal is an online resource, it will be much easier to ensure it is completely up to date.
Colleagues will also be able to share best practice information or tips on what has worked well for them and their patients through a blog or collaborative workspace. Furthermore, being able to touch base and check out diagnoses and treatment plans with more experienced colleagues via forums on the CMS portal will be a great benefit to any medical practice.
A powerful, advanced search functionality will make certain that health professionals can find the relevant information quickly and easily.
When there are changes in legislation or medical practices that all staff are required to be aware of, it is a simple task in the CMS portal to record and report back to management on compliance. For example, a staff member can confirm that they have read the relevant information and then the intranet will automatically update management. Keeping knowledge and skills up to date is an important requirement for health professionals and having that transparency over compliance is a great advantage for practice managers.
The knowledge base can also house the internal manuals and directories that practice personnel will regularly need to reference such as patient management guides, data confidentiality policies or answers to frequently asked questions for reception staff.
Streamline GP Partnership Communications
We have already touched on what a challenging task it can be in busy medical practices to find the time for team meetings and internal communications. The CMS portal can assist in this process.
Some bigger practices have found an online staff directory an invaluable resource. This is especially so where short biographies of staff members include their medical specialty. Staff members can utilize this feature when looking for expert advice from their colleagues on a medical issue. Staff directories are also enormously helpful in the onboarding process.
A what’s new page or practice news feed will keep all staff members updated as to what’s happening within the different GP partnerships and in the wider world of healthcare. These features can also be customized by team, partnership or job function, which will increase the ease with which staff can find the information they need.
Health professionals as well as support and administrative staff that have a better understanding of the work of the practice and how they contribute to its overall goals, tend to be happier and more engaged team members. Keeping team members involved and informed through the CMS portal will go a long way to making sure your team members are happy and productive.
Document Management And Sharing Systems
As we have seen, medical practices are also businesses. Automating and streamlining business processes via the CMS portal will yield a considerable return on investment. All paper-based forms can become online processes on the intranet. So whether a medical doctor is completing a claim for expenses, a nurse is ordering medical supplies from a supplier or a receptionist is booking annual leave, all of these processes, and many others just like them can be completed through the CMS portal. There will be no more paper forms to complete or emails to send. The CMS portal will simply direct the e-form straight to the relevant staff member to action.
In addition, the CMS portal will enable health professionals to work collaboratively on, for example, a research project or a new safety and health at work policy. Access to the collaborative work spaces and edit rights is controlled by a set of permissions which will either grant or deny entry to certain content, files and pages. In this way, staff members are only able to access pages that are relevant to their job.
For extra convenience, access to external systems can be provided centrally via the intranet by linking to other software. Additionally, you can embed your favorite Google apps such as Google Calendar, Sheets or Docs or Slides.
Patient Care Feedback
The CMS portal is also the obvious repository for all patient care feedback. Using iPads in the reception patients will be able to complete an online survey providing feedback on their visit to the practice. Responses can be collated and displayed in the intranet for staff members to reflect on. In response to the feedback, using a collaborative workspace on the intranet staff members will be able to log in to collaborate, devise strategies or chip in with simple ideas to improve patient care and the patient experience offered by the practice.
Medical practices that take the time to seek the views of patients and then find ways to improve the patient experience by addressing any issues identified are more likely to retain patient numbers with a consequent impact on funding. Therefore, the practice as a business will be more productive and successful.
Healthcare CMS Portals Give You A Competitive Advantage
Do you want to have more dollars that you can direct to frontline health services? Do you want your practice to run as efficiently as possible while providing the highest standard of care to your patients? If the answer to these two questions is ‘yes’ then a CMS portal may well be the perfect fit for your organization.
A healthcare intranet will ensure your practice streamlines its business processes and enhances patient care. This win-win scenario will help you maintain a competitive advantage over others in your field.
If you’re interested in finding out more about what a healthcare CMS portal can offer your medical practice, then contact the friendly team at MyHub for an informal consultation or a free demonstration.