It is important for practices to have a good workflow from the moment patients book their appointments to the time they leave the practice. That being said, many patients attribute a positive healthcare experience based on the time spent within the office and their overall satisfaction of the services they received.
This means it’s important for medical practices to implement time-saving strategies from the moment patients walk through the door, notably, the moment they reach the front desk.
Front Desk Strategies
How does your staff greet your patients? Do they address their needs and provide the necessary information for their visit? How long did your patients have to wait in your office? These are all important questions to ask yourself, as they are the first impression your patients get of your practice and the services they receive.
Ensuring patients have a good experience from the start will positively affect your practice’s revenue. To do so, practices can implement certain strategies that will save staff and patient time:
- Provide Online Pre-Registration
Online pre-registrations, whether by email or through a portal, allow patients to input their information before entering your clinic. They can do it from the comfort of their own home and on their own time rather than awkwardly filling out a form on a clipboard in your waiting room.
Allowing patients to register ahead of time also frees up staff time by not having the burden of filling out paperwork of their own. All pertinent information, including insurance information and medical history can be found in the online, concise pre-registration form.
- Integrate a Patient Portal
Patient portals provide a great tool for patients to book appointments, sign in, message their provider, pay bills and a host of other things. They augment a patient’s experience by empowering them through technology and access to valuable information. They also allow them to complete tasks quickly and efficiently, wherever they might be.
Patient portals also significantly reduce the number of incoming calls, answer FAQs, provide copies of patient medical records and more, all of which significantly frees up valuable staff time.
- Streamline Paperwork
Front desk staff time is always burdened by the most time-consuming task, which is paperwork. It is important for medical practices to analyze their staff’s workflow and see which elements could be cut completely or done a different way, such as automating certain processes.
Do some of your forms repeat the same information and questions? Can they be merged into one and provided in a portal or online pre-registration form? Can insurance information be limited to copying a card or do staff need to fill out a form? These are only some of the questions to ask yourself about your staff’s current paperwork load.
Further time-saving strategies can be implemented throughout the practice’s workflow by analyzing current procedures. Many find that technology can be a big factor in augmenting efficiency and saving valuable time for patients, physicians and other practice staff.
Time Savings Through Automation
Implementing technology for certain procedures and tasks can greatly alleviate staff workload. Appointment scheduling, for example, is a great place to start. By automating this process, patients can book their appointments online, freeing up phone lines and front-desk staff time, and providers can work with scheduling templates that suit their workflow and saves them time as well.
Another great process to automate are prescription refills. This process can be lengthy when done manually: patient calls the practice, front-desk staff fills out relevant information and forwards to healthcare provider, follow-up is done with the patient’s pharmacy and sometimes even leads to patients calling back and following up with the practice.
Automating prescription refills means patients can save time by simply requesting renewals online through a patient portal. Prescription renewals can also be automated by having patients call a voicemail number and leave a message with a nurse or pharmacist and receive instructions on how to request an electronic refill and when to expect their prescription to be ready. This allows staff to treat multiple prescription refills at once, making the process more efficient.
There are multiple ways a medical practice can automate their processes or save staff time by analyzing their workflow. Whether it be scheduling “complicated” patients at the end of the working day or integrating templates or even starting with the assessment and plan when doing patient notes, there are many ways in which staff can save time without needing to make drastic changes.