Older patients have unique medical and scheduling needs.
Even if you don’t specialize in geriatric medicine, you have older patients in your practice. Some of them may have been with you for years. As your patients age, chronic and acute health conditions can emerge. As medical staff, your job is to stay on top of your patients’ care and to help your patients do the same.
The Unique Health Care Needs of Older Patients
Your practice can play a role in helping both new retirees and elderly patients take care of their health care needs. When a patient retires, they’ve probably spent years focused on the needs of their family and their work. Did you know that only 25 percent of people aged 50 to 64 are up to date with their medical services? Retirement is the time for them to focus on themselves and on managing and maintaining good health. At this point, your job is to help these patients create a new health care regime that involves preventative activities such as exercise and preventative appointments such as cancer screening. You also need to help them manage chronic or emerging health conditions to the best of their ability. This is accomplished through accurate diagnosis, discussion of treatment options, and ongoing tests and appointments.
The Scheduling Needs of Older Patients
As patients age, their medical issues can become a more prominent part of their life. Your older patients have unique scheduling needs. Their families have grown and while they may have local support, they may have trouble getting to appointments at certain times of the day. They may also begin to forget about appointment scheduling, and this is when frequent reminders to patients and caregivers become very important. Often, patients are simply unaware of what appointments need to be scheduled and when.
Office staff can help patients stay up to date on their medical appointments and tests.
Practice Management Software Can Help the Older Patient
New retirees need to set up a program of ongoing health care and preventative maintenance, and your elderly patients need reminders to manage their prescriptions, appointments, and tests. It’s hard for medical office staff to remember to prompt each individual about the need for an annual flu shot or the follow up to a specific medical test. This is where medical office software can come into play. A good software system will help office staff remind patients by creating prompts to remind office staff. When a patient calls or comes into the office, the medical office staff can remind that person to book a follow up appointment. When a patient is due for a routine medical test or appointment, the practice management software prompts staff to remind the patient.
This software acts as the brain trust of the office, remembering what appointments need follow up so that staff don’t need to commit all of this to memory. By choosing cloud and web-based software, you can even communicate these patient needs between offices so that patients are covered wherever they go within your practice.
Could practice management software help you manage the health care needs of your older patients? If you’re looking for software that can streamline your appointment reminders and help you and your patients manage their care, sign up for a free version of PracticeSuite today.
Last Updated on December 27, 2014