October 20, 2022 3 min read
Running a healthcare practice in today’s environment can be both rewarding and challenging. Keeping up with day-to-day operations is hard enough given changing regulations and shifting patient expectations. How do you begin to ensure that you are operating as effectively as possible?
Updating your clinic processes to save time, improve patient care and increase business efficiency can be an overwhelming process. There are a few simple steps you can take that will help you streamline the management of your practice operations. Let’s look at how to manage your office’s systems so you can focus on managing the most important things—your patients.
Imagine if healthcare providers relied solely on the knowledge they learned in school and never took the time to keep up with advancements in care.
When was the last time you really looked at the way your clinic operates? Clinic management best practices are evolving so rapidly that even processes developed just a couple of years ago can be complicating your systems unnecessarily.
Outdated clinic systems are a drain on your time and resources. Digital efficiency will reduce manual effort, save you money and eliminate clerical errors. Stop relying on phone fax and mail and invest in a secure messaging system for better patient management. If you are printing or scanning anything, there's a good chance those documents can be kept digital to simplify process and save cost.
Too frequently, important information is lost because clinics don't have a trackable process for relaying information internally. One person's interpretation of what a patient said on the phone might differ from another's. It's better to include the original communication to avoid confusion and repeated questions or discussion.
A secure messaging system is an excellent way to ensure that all communications are tracked and referenceable in writing. This can include everything from requests for lab tests, orders for medications and updates on a patient's status. In addition, this one simple channel enables team members to communicate efficiently without any translation errors.
The traditional ways clinics communicate, fax, mail and phone, are no longer the most efficient options.
Faxes are not secure, can be cumbersome with multiple resends required, and is not fully trackable. Patients don't answer phones or check voicemail regularly and other clinics' phone lines are often busy. Preparing documents for the mail takes extra time and money that can be much better spent elsewhere (or not spent at all).
Simple clinic systems such as privacy compliant messaging services streamline front office workflow and increase staff efficiency by eliminating avoidable manual effort. Digital files are much easier to share and manage. Trips to the printer, scanner, or fax machine are pointless interruptions to workflow.
Imagine working in a clinic that still used oil lamps instead of electric lights. Every day the lamps would have to be refilled, wicks replaced, walls and ceilings would need to be cleaned of soot, and ensuring enough oil and wick supply would be part of someone's job.
Makes you appreciate walking through the clinic door and turning on all the lights with the flick of one switch, doesn't it? Most of us happily pay electricity bills each month considering the alternative.
Now, think about the time, effort and expense required to put a letter in the mail instead of sending it electronically.
Using more up-to-date technology to streamline your process will eliminate work and cost. Reallocating staff time to more productive and rewarding tasks improves staff satisfaction and supports increased patient satisfaction as well. For example, many practices have found that modernizing the way they communicate with patients and other practices with a method that more closely aligns with how we all typically communicate in our daily lives saves an enormous amount of money ($1000/month or more).
By updating your clinic systems to make patient management easier, you will increase the efficiency of your staff and provide a better experience for patients. Training manuals, protocols, and simple reminders (E.G., a little sticker on the fax machine that says, "Could this be a secure message?") can help with staff training and build smart habits for your practice. Privacy is an important consideration when updating any system that deals with patient information. Privacy compliance training will help staff understand the importance of protecting patient information and provide a lense that can be applied when implementing new systems. Listen to feedback from staff and patients when considering updates to ensure you are building a system that works for everyone in the office.
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