One of the most challenging aspects of maintaining your daily patient load is avoiding bottlenecks throughout each patient visit. It can be a hard balance keeping up with a steady patient flow and providing the highest quality of care for each patient. Some things that can throw off your patient flow are things like patients showing up late to appointments, walk in emergencies, and inefficient office processes. What do you think is the biggest cause for bottlenecks in your office workflow?
Having an idea on what your specific problems are will help you determine the steps you can take to improve productivity and efficiency throughout a patient visit. Let's look at some ideas for speeding up the patient flow.
Speed Up Your Office Workflow with These Tips
Time It Out
Taking the time to evaluate the length and needs of different patient visits in your practice is one way to start making improvements to your timing, scheduling, and workflow. In our eBook, Optimizing Your Workflow with Optometry Software, we've got a worksheet dedicated to helping you determine the timing of your patient flow. A good patient flow will increase patient satisfaction and reduce wait times in your practice, which makes this an important step to finding those bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
Use Online Communication
How does your team communicate and hand off patients to one another throughout the office? How you manage these communications is going to effect the timing of your workflow. Here are a few ways to make communication and hand offs align with your workflow:
- Online Instant Messages: Instant messages within your software can help your team discretely communicate about the patients in the office, letting each other know when the patient is ready for the next step.
- Scheduler View: The scheduler in your practice management system should be able to show your staff where each patient is in the practice, what rooms are being used, and what patient the doctor is with.
- Patient Portal: Effective use of the patient portal will get your patients filling out information before they even step foot in your office. This reduces data entry tasks for your front desk, and that same patient information will be available in the EHR system during the appointment.
- Prescriptions and Billing: When the doctor writes an Rx prescription and creates the codes for billing, this information in the software system should be readily available for the opticians and front desk staff finishing off the appointment. Having this information communicated through the software will raise less questions between the doctor to optician/biller hand off at the end of an appointment.
Automate When Possible
In some cases, your staff is too busy catching up on busy administrative work that it can hold up the patient workflow. Whether it's data entry at the front desk, equipment readings that need to be manually entered by the technician, or too many clicks in the exam lane for the Doctor - automation can help make some of these tasks a little bit quicker. A practice management software, EHR system, and patient portal that all integrate will make patient information readily available at all times without the need for repetitive data entry. Plus, things like clinical decision support, ePrescribing, and automated patient recall can help speed up other manual, time consuming tasks.
Buy The Right Software System
The best software on the market these days is designed to streamline your workflow and provide you with the tools you need to give your patients a modern and efficient appointment. For some, the idea of moving from paper to electronic or switching from system to system may be intimidating, but don't let that scare you from making such an important change for your practice.
The right practice management and EHR solution for your practice is going to help you implement all these time-saving workflow ideas by making communication easier, automating time-consuming manual tasks, and reducing data entry.
Want to take a deeper dive into evaluating your workflow? Download the eBook.