Poor patient flow can create bottlenecks and disrupt your treatment plan. You not only risk-averse clinical outcomes but also loss of reputation and clients. A streamlined and improved patient flow leads to positive health outcomes and keeps your services moving as per plan.
However, a clinic may not have the required budget or resources to invest in patient flow management practices. For them, we have a few actionable tips to improve their patient flow for happy clients and maximise revenues.
Create a Patient Portal
Patient registrations take up a lot of time and labor. Clinics also spend a considerable amount on wages for employees who handle the registration. You can create a patient portal on your website where people can access information and book appointments. Many clinics also have apps that patients can use to sign up and request appointments or services.
You can set up your online registration process and gather all the patient information without any need for human involvement. Obviously, you should keep someone at the desk for walk-in patients too.
Collection information from patients digitally saves time and reduces errors.
A patient moves from one department to another while receiving care. He may first see a doctor and then land up in the X-ray room. After that, he visits the doctor again with the report and goes for a CT scan. Finally, he receives a prescription and heads to the pharmacy to get his medicines.
Now, each department needs to have complete information about the patient and the services provided to him. Writing notes can do the job, but won’t increase efficiency or save time.
The best way to facilitate collaboration between departments is to use technology. You can keep a simple Excel sheet and update it with every patient interaction. It can be stored on a shared drive that staff from different departments can access.
However, to streamline the process further, clinics can use healthcare CRM. You can automate parts of data collection, save time, and help all team members stay on the same page.
Cut the Stress for Your Patients
A suburban specialty practice organization with 4 clinics discovered that most patients still preferred visiting its old and smaller office. According to the staff, the smaller clinic meant less stress for patients as they knew where to go.
Clinics can take small steps to help patients navigate to the right department or doctor. You can simply put up signs, clearly mark out areas, put nameplates on every doctor’s office, and so on. If you have a big clinic, you can also display a floor plan with clear markings.
This is a no-brainer. You need to schedule patients and procedures based on your capability. Obviously, you need to have detailed information about the availability of doctors, exam rooms, and staff to handle the duties.
It’s always better to plan ahead and schedule patients according to availability. Otherwise, your patients sit for hours in the waiting room and start getting frustrated.
You should check dates, assess staffing requirements, determine the priority of patients, patterns of arrival, and schedule accordingly.
You need to set up a constant system of monitoring to improve patient flow, according to the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. That means you should track and monitor everything including-
- Diagnostic grouping
- Treatments provided
- Physicians attended
- Stage of patient flow process
- Tests conducted
The job can get challenging, especially for patients who need multiple visits spanning over months. Many clinics have started using technology like medical CRM to document the entire patient journey from the point of admission to the point of discharge.
Having a ready record makes way for effective scheduling where patients can get over with their treatments without stepping into the waiting room.
Predict Patterns Using Data
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, using data to predict arrival patterns can help you plan efficiently. if you use a patient management platform or a CRM, your solution will provide a range of important data to discern patterns and trends in your clinic.
For instance, emergency departments are busiest on Mondays across the USA. This can be said by assessing the historical data available. In the same way, you can analyze data and predict the probable busiest periods for your clinic.
The insights help you plan staffing and other resources to meet the increased demand without increased waiting times.
Talk It Out
Your clinic may have unique patient flow challenges that don’t match with other organizations. It’s necessary to uncover and talk about the challenges to improve patient flow. You should hold at least one meeting every month with all employees from every department. Use the meetings to discover issues and plan measures to overcome the challenges. Efficient communication can really make a difference and help your patients move swiftly, ensuring they get the required care on time.
Take the Help of Technology
Most clinics have moved to using at least a patient management platform to streamline patient flow. Advanced healthcare CRMs go a long way to optimize the movement of your patients and reduce delays in the process.
LeadSquared is a leading healthcare CRM that integrates with your crucial caregiving tools. You can sync LeadSquared with your patient portal, EMRs, appointment scheduling, hospital information system, and more. You can create 360-degree patient profiles with complete patient and treatment history.
All the information will be visible when a patient calls so that you can schedule appointments with zero waiting times. You can also predict what your patients need based on their activity and stay proactive about their care requirements.
Improving patient flow in your clinic requires actionable steps and a culture of accountability among your staff. Medical technology like healthcare CRMs can help clinics optimize their patient flow and make way for enhanced clinical outcomes.