The more efficient your workflow is, the faster you'll be able to move patients through an appointment. The total time a patient should spend in your practice should be no more than 45 minutes. If your current patient flow time is longer than 45 minutes, it might be time to analyze your workflow and discover where you can improve. We want to share with you 5 areas for improving your office workflow that will help cut down on total patient appointment time.
5 Tips to Improve Office Workflow and Save Time
1. Lower Check-In Time to Under 3 Minutes
Less than 3 minutes for check-in time might seem quick, but if your practice is utilizing your patient portal, this shouldn't be a problem. Patients should be able to fill out all of their paper work and insurance information online before their appointment, meaning that they should be spending less time in your front office.
Bonus Tip: To help ensure your front office isn't held up waiting for no-show patients, be sure to utilize patient recall systems that integrate with your practice management system. With patient recall, you can send text or email reminders automatically asking patients to confirm their appointment. The information syncs back to your schedule, so you'll be able to fill spots that open up!
2. Get Your Pre-Exam Process Down to 5-10 Minutes
We've talked before about utilizing your technician in the pre-exam process to save your OD time, but that doesn't mean that the pre-exam needs to take up a large amount of time. Remember all of the information that you had your patients enter in their portal online? If your practice is properly integrating practice management and EHR, that information can be loaded into your EHR, meaning that your technician can focus less on duplicate data entry, and more on completing the pre-exam test efficiently.
3. Narrow Down the Exam Time to 15 Minutes
A great EHR synced with your practice management system helps your OD move quickly and efficiently through the exam process while providing the best care possible for patients. When your systems work together, all of the necessary patient information only needs to be entered once which makes diagnosis, ePrescribing, and providing referrals go by in the blink of an eye. A good workflow should allow your OD to see 3.5 - 4 patients per hour.
Bonus Tip: By cutting out phone calls and faxing methods to fill prescriptions, you'll be able to complete a patient's exam even faster. With ePrescribing the prescription information can be sent straight from your EHR system to the pharmacy saving both them and you valuable time.
4. Try to Move Patients Through Your Dispensary in 15 Minutes
The time patients spend in your dispensary is probably the most flexible area when it comes to patient flow. You never want to rush a patient through your dispensary. Picking out the right frames can be a lengthy process for some patients for various reasons, including style choices and pricing. Buying new glasses is a big purchase for patients, and what is really important here is that your optician is knowledgeable and helpful to each patient that comes through your dispensary.
Think of the 15 minute guideline as the amount of time your optician should spend discussing lens options and placing the order online (not the amount of time the patient takes to select their frames). These tasks should be completed quickly by using your EHR system to carry lens prescription information over to your dispensary, so the optician has it on hand when serving the patient.
5. Get Patients Through Check-Out in Less Than 5 Minutes
If your optician is able to utilize your practice management system to quickly create an invoice for your patients and automatically send it to account receivables, then your practice's check-out time should be short. However, we think that the actual payment collection process should be left to the front desk. This allows the front desk the opportunity to pre-schedule follow up appointments and schedule recall actions.
By getting your patient flow down to 45 minutes, you'll increase patient satisfaction and be able to see more patients in each day. How well is your practice doing when it comes to patient flow? If you need materials to evaluate your practice's workflow, make sure to download our latest eBook, it comes with an interactive kit that will help you evaluate your practice efficiency and discover areas for improvement!