Moving patients seamlessly through check-in, to their appointment, and out again maximizes the amount of time doctors spend with patients. Eliminating clutter in the patient process can seem daunting, but here are a few helpful ways to improve patient flow and boost your time management and proficiency!

Establish office goals.

Increasing efficiency is a group effort, and everyone involved must be knowledgeable about best practices and short-term goals. Achieving a well-managed, economical hospital or clinic requires the participation of all employees, from nurses and doctors to HR reps and volunteer staff. Before you list your goals, observe the daily routine of the office and ask staff to list areas of disorganization, this way you can develop solutions to target flaws in your system.

Create a flow chart.

Mapping the flow of your office from a patient’s perspective begins with detailed note-taking. Simply ask a few patients to describe, in detail, their impressions and observations throughout the day. Often, third-party individuals offer a more balanced viewpoint and can pinpoint imperfections that otherwise escape notice. Whether it be an uncomfortable ultrasound table or a negative Nancy in the office, you can expect honest feedback from your patients.

Identify areas of bottleneck.

Bottlenecks are areas in the process that impede the smooth flow of your office. These are the most common sources of bottleneck in medical establishments.

Scheduling Appointments

Patients expect to be attended to quickly when they walk in. A huge problem that causes inefficiency is staff taking appointment calls in the middle of their conversations with incoming patients or ignoring the patient altogether. An online forum where patients can set up their own appointments will reduce this issue. It’s also a great idea, considering 81% of patients favor scheduling appointments online.

Missing Information

Office assistants manage the movement of the office, providing structure to the mayhem.  They’re not perfect, though, and sometimes simple tasks get lost in the shuffle of paper—staff can lose track of important documents or test results after the patient has already arrived. As the world around us modernizes, many public health institutions have turned to electronic health records to manage patient outcomes and ensure information is readily available.

Poorly Planned Visits

Maintaining time restrictions for patient-doctor visits is beneficial but can also disrupt work flow and negatively impact the patient experience. Each health issue is complex, and patients should be attended to according to the gravity and immediacy of their health issue. Identifying how much time patients need to address their issues can cut down on wait times for sicker patients. Simple tasks like filling out patient forms can be completed ahead of time to cut down on unnecessary tasks in the office and free up everyone’s time. Additionally, if the doctor knows how to articulate poor test results to patients, they can provide information more efficiently and can better serve his/her patients without compromising another patients’ care.

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