If you work in the front office at a small healthcare practice, you wear many hats and add great value to the practice. Your job centers on efficiency and accuracy and key goals include:
- Provide correct patient information to the physician.
- Ensure the patient experience is optimized.
- Minimize risks and costs.
- Maximize collected revenue for services.
The reality is, it may take reevaluating your current processes — or what you’ve “always done” — to successfully meet those goals. Paper-based records are still the preferred method of recording, storing, and retrieving patient information in many healthcare practices. They may be simple and cost-effective, but they can actually create workflow inefficiencies that negatively affect physicians, patients, and the practice as a whole.
If the following four points hit close to home, rethinking your practice workflow to increase efficiency and profitability is in your best interest.
1. Locating Physical Charts
If you are using paper records, you undoubtedly spend time trying to locate the physical patient charts. Requiring the physical chart to view patient data gives office managers limited access to the information they need to set the patient appointment up for success. Physical charts can easily be misplaced, be difficult to transport, or lack sufficient patient information, like important medical history details.
Since the the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) legislation was created in 2009, the U.S. government has pushed for the adoption of EHR and supporting technology. The fact is, “meaningful use” is no longer associated with paper health records.
2. Risk of Error
You work hard to provide excellent patient experiences. You focus on the health of the practice so that your team of providers can focus on the health of their patients. If medical records are handwritten, poor legibility, and overlooked mistakes, can contribute to errors. In order to save time while improving accuracy, you cannot rely solely on human generated records. The patient needs to receive optimal care with minimal risks, from check-in to payment and everything in between. If your workflow is prone to error, the practice will inevitably suffer.
3. Over-complicated Process
You may think of the patient check-in as one simple step — but is that how it actually is conducted? Think about how your practice functions from the patient’s perspective. The “check-in” may look something like this:
- Wait in line at reception.
- Provide insurance and identification cards.
- Receive paperwork.
- Sit in the waiting area.
- Complete paperwork.
This process may be working for you, but make sure you’re always asking yourself whether it could be improved. Are you asking the patient questions that the doctor later asks them, such as, “To which pharmacy should we send your medication?” Every aspect of the patient lifecycle should be efficient, comprehensive, and simplified.
When you are able to minimize inefficiencies and cut out steps that aren’t valuable to patients, chances are, your patients are going to be happier and more willing to advocate for your business. By having an optimized process, you will be able to increase the number of patient visits, providing even more care and improving the health of the practice. Since an efficient workflow will save you significant time in your job, reduced overtime also saves your practice money, both in overtime paid and in overhead costs for extra operating hours.
4. Resistance of New Technology
If you and the rest of your practice’s staff continue to do things “the way they’ve always been done,” you could be missing out on prime opportunities to grow business while streamlining your processes. If you’re hesitant to implement an EHR solution, focus on value. If the cost will provide a better patient experience, decrease errors and time, and increase communication and transparency within the practice the value is clear.
If you’d like to learn about a reliable and cost-efficient EHR platform that is built specifically to your practice’s specialty, request a call with a member of our team to learn how Practice EHR can simplify your workflow today, or sign up for a free trial below.
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