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Data mobility empowers better patient care – MedCity News

BetterHealthcare seeks to reduce the friction in healthcare by simplifying the first mile of the patient journey through consumer-oriented scheduling and communication and providing better patient data for providers.

BetterHealthcare got its start as a niche player in physical therapy, according to CEO and Co-founder Greg Peters. In a phone interview, he discussed how the company has used technology and data to improve the patient experience. 

The company is laser-focused on improving the first stage of the patient journey while collecting critical data to help providers retain patients and improve referrals within their physician networks. The company’s approach seeks to improve patient intake forms, appointment scheduling and management. 

A critical part of that process is offering a way for patients to choose whether they want an in-person doctor’s appointment or would prefer a home visit or telehealth appointment. 

In an audit of 167 of some of the largest health systems in the country, more than 60% of them have leakage. One contributing factor is due to the difficulty patients have booking an appointment online with specific providers when and where they want within their system, according to data from BetterHealthcare. Some only offer a “call to book” appointment option, which isn’t an option for most professionals working long hours. 

Many providers are only using legacy platforms, outdated technology, or forms as part of their patient scheduling tools, according to Peters. By providing an interoperable scheduling platform  for patients to access care where it’s convenient and comfortable for them, providers will be able to retain a greater portion of their patients. That’s especially important when patients need a specialist.

Data mobility empowers better patient care - MedCity News

Greg Peters

Peters explained that the reason the company, formerly known as BetterPT, initially focused on physical therapy was because patients who use PT are such a diverse group from young athletes to seniors. 

“It’s the broadest patient group. Everybody has a relationship with musculoskeletal health. We got a chance to see a very broad audience very early, and that’s what led us to really believe that we could make an impact,” Peters said. “PT has very, very tight reimbursement so they’re very price sensitive. They are not exposed to a lot of technology and, outside of hospitals, they are really owner-operated. I’m referring to physical therapists who run their own businesses and they’re trying to not only run their business and treat patients, but they’re also trying to grow their business. So we really have an opportunity to fine tune our platform and build structured data around this first mile of the patient journey.”

In recent years when the company expanded its customer base beyond PT practices, it rebranded from BetterPT to BetterHealthcare. Last year it hit a critical customer milestone — its scheduling platform is now used at more than 1,000 healthcare facilities. This year, Peters said he and his team spent time building out the company’s data capabilities. 

“As we start to unpack some of the things that we’re able to do for some of the larger customers beyond physical therapy practices, I’m excited by the opportunities,” Peters said.

One fundamental error providers make, according to Peters, is not fully understanding who their patients are. In order for providers to grow their business, it is essential for them to have a better grasp of what their patients want and need and implement solutions that meet their patients’ expectations.  Patients can be a provider’s best source of referrals. If they have a good experience, they will tell all of their friends. But on the flip side, if they have a poor experience, they will also share that experience widely.

Peters opined that if providers had a better grasp of patient behavior, they would do a better job of helping them navigate the patient journey instead of inadvertently making the patient experience more challenging than it needs to be. 

“Patient behavior hasn’t really been studied. That’s what everyone’s trying to figure out: ‘Why will I go to your organization, and another patient won’t?’ I think when you start to use and leverage the data around who your patient is, when they want to convert, how they’re converting, whether they’re on mobile devices or on a laptop, you start to really look at the behavior. If you can start to learn and unlock the pieces of the behavior and meet patients where they are, everything starts to really optimize. The result is higher conversions, more patient acquisitions, more satisfied patients and a more efficient front desk, and all the pieces start to come together. But in order to do that you must understand who that person is on the other side that you’re trying to reach.”

Peters added: “If you are not paying attention to who your patient is, you’re most certainly not going to benefit from a happy patient.” 

In order for healthcare providers to succeed, they need to avail themselves of innovative technology solutions to support the patient experience to improve healthcare access, transparency and flexibility. Creating a cross-channel experience will add significant value for providers and patients. 

Photo: LumineImages, Getty Images

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