The Virus Has a Lot to Teach Us About Running a Medical Practice

The following is a guest article by Dikla Ranen Co-founder and COO from Odoro.

Can we learn anything about running medical practices, and taking great care of our patients, from the biology of the coronavirus?

The answer is yes.

The coronavirus is a targeting machine, deviously brilliant in the way it attacks high-risk populations by latching onto the ACE-2 receptor. We know its impact on health care, and on the physiological and emotional health of patients has been devastating.

What we can learn from it is the power of personalization – for evil and for good. The “good” is that the more we recognize and understand our patients as individuals, the better we can target their physiological and emotional needs and live up to our mission.

This personalization and a corresponding ability to use technology to create individualized patient experiences, while always important, is particularly essential to establishing meaningful and enduring patient relationships in a COVID world.

Technology will play an increasingly important role in the future. Recognizing patients as unique and special will be even more front and center as we struggle to bounce back from COVID, find a new normal, and work to rebuild patient volumes when challenged by deferred appointments, backlogs and financial constraints.

We started Odoro because we were convinced that the antiquated methods of scheduling appointments – along with everything that comes before the visit, and after – had fallen egregiously behind the rest of our daily digital lives. We recognized that the powerful personalization benefits of smart algorithms were capable of powering scheduling and management systems that would simultaneously benefit patients, physicians, and the entire medical and institutional structures behind health care today.

Inspired by that, we created a powerful platform that uses technology to put the patient at the center of everything. The pandemic, and the stresses it has put on the practice of medicine on every level, has validated our vision.

The delivery of superlative health care starts with the patient – and because the health-care community shares this commitment – Odoro’s customizable tools are being celebrated for their ability to empower health systems and physician groups to put their patients first no matter what the macro environment.

Patients welcome self-scheduling – when done right, of course – because it empowers them. During the pandemic, and in the post-COVID world to come, the comfort and confidence that self-scheduling offers is profoundly important. Just being able to make an appointment on the weekend, rather than waiting till Monday morning to speak with someone lives, relieves stress, and anxiety.

Personalization Treats People Like People , Not Numbers

Personalization is delivered through the Odoro platform because it is built to simply and easily incorporate any set of requirements based on the business logic, provider clinical skills and availability and, of course, patient needs and their personal preferences. And it easily adjusts to changing needs over time. So if during COVID clinics want to limit appointments for high-risk patients to morning times, and disable these slots for other patients, the scheduling tool reflects that. If two patients with the same condition require different amounts of physician time – because one is more anxious, and the other prefers short visits – they can each be recognized in the system, and scheduled accordingly. In the same way, important educational content about how older and other high-risk patients can protect their health, can be sent only to those audiences.

Personalization on our platform is enabled through health organization logic combined with unique patient needs. The patient steps through the entire workflow, and is asked relevant diagnostic and algorithmically personalized questions along the way – is it your knee or hip that was injured? This helps our customers from specialty groups like Orthopedics to match the right provider, not just by availability or location but by best provider for the specific patient condition. The current scheduler process is maintained. We don’t reinvent the wheel, we automate it, collecting essential data which places patients in the right flow.

The patient will feel this immediately, and it can change their entire perspective on their visit. In a world where the mission is to shrink waiting time to extent possible, our platform enables physicians to move as much as is possible from in-person engagement to the security and comfort of online. What was an in-office burden becomes an at-home delight.

To Keep Up with Your Patients and the World, Technology Must Keep Changing

Appointments are only the beginning. Our platform was built to go beyond the mechanics of scheduling to create an infinitely flexible and dynamic new patient experience and ecosystem.

Patient access automation is complex behind the scenes, but beautifully accessible and intuitive for all those who work in the practice and need to touch us. Unlike others who have built hard-coded scheduling platforms, with Odoro no one has to send emergency “I need help” messages to our development team when they want to make a change in the protocols or settings. Smart technology creates practical self-sufficiency.

Our platform customizability and resilience are why we were able to move quickly and integrate Zoom in less than 72 hours when it became apparent that physicians were going to have to move the majority of their visits to the virtual world.

In a post-COVID world, as practices will need to both rebuild volume and respond to the unique needs of different patient populations, what we have built at Odoro will become even more relevant. Patients will want to be able to quickly read physician backgrounds and experience, and make their decision about which one to make their first appointment with. Odoro integrates that data into our platform because we know how important that is. Patients are consumers in another setting who want to be empowered to make informed choices.

We can’t predict the future, but we are confident – as are many of the leaders in healthcare – that we are in uncharted waters, where the ability to respond nimbly and with agility will be essential.

That means ever-increasing levels of personalization will be required. The aftereffects of the virus demand more complex appointment regimens, the balance between practice needs and patient obligations will become more nuanced, and the ability to create a seamless digital relationship with patients will become more of a competitive advantage.

Educated patients – of every generation – will not only expect, but demand, physician relationships that are both deeply personal and digitally elevated. This is how practices will be sustained in the post-COVID world, a world we have been preparing long before anyone ever heard of the coronavirus.

About Dikla Ranen

Dikla Ranen is the co-founder and COO of Odoro – a global leader in digital patient access solutions. After holding senior sales, business development and customer success roles in both the digital health and hi-tech sectors, Dikla saw an opportunity to transform the patient experience by bringing efficiency and elevation to the way individuals find the right physicians, schedule care, and build meaningful relationships with their providers. Odoro was born out of that vision, and since then continued to innovate new solutions, including rapid responses to the COVID-19 and post pandemic world in which virtual care, contactless interactions and digital access options are the new normal.