It is the ultimate goal of every new medical practice to increase patient flow and improve their business. Therefore, they implement strategies to improve patient experience and only focus on providing quality patient care services. For this purpose, they equip themselves with skilled resources that have great expertise. They are professionally skilled to remove bottlenecks and streamline the patient flow in order to increase the customer base. Increased and steady patient flow is essential to ensure that medical practice is performing well. It makes patients always keep coming back to the same medical practitioner for follow-up treatment and they always get satisfied.
After the recent reforms, patients have become more responsible for their health management and payments. It is also changing the role of patients from passive recipients of services to active decision-makers. They are able to choose the physician of their own choice and their decision can also impact the insurance plan.
What Is The Significance Of Patient Flow?
Extracted from the research published in NEJM Catalyst, 1 January 2018_ “Patient flow is the movement of patients through a healthcare facility. It involves the medical care, physical resources, and internal systems needed to get patients from the point of admission to the point of discharge while maintaining quality and patient/provider satisfaction.”
Therefore, during the care process, medical practitioners must consider multiple factors that can contribute to drive maximum patient satisfaction. They must encourage their staff to provide satisfactory patient experience and make a loyal customer base for the medical business. Medical practitioners should provide a flexible and convenient care process where they can productively engage with their health mentors.5 following key strategies can help practitioners to enhance patient flow and ultimately drive success for a medical business.
Strive For Productive Patient Engagement
Medical practitioners must consider that patient engagement is the key to increase patient flow. A satisfied patient keeps coming back to the same doctor and also suggests its friends, relatives or other people. In this way, positive word of mouth results in increased patient flow. Medical practitioners can drive maximum patient engagement in the following ways;
- Patients can easily communicate with physicians in order to make certain changes or provide their suggestions.
- Physicians teach patients to track vital signs and discuss them with patients.
- There must be an online communication physician-patient portal in place.
- Patients have the facility to access their health information even after discharge.
- Patients can download health records to keep them safe from their end.
- Patients should have access to share their health records with other physicians.
- Physicians should have an online interactive platform where they can provide patient-specific education.
- Patients can easily get a summary of each visit to the clinic.
- They can receive reminders in a manner they requested for preventive and/or follow-up care.
Align All The Departments
It has become inevitable for new medical practices to provide satisfactory patient experiences. Therefore, they should strive to enhance the whole clinical process in order to make improvements for the physician’s office. New medical businesses should design proper structure for their offices from the start to handle patient flow. For instance, they should align departments that can track the patient flow from their check-in to check-out. It is the most important aspect of the care delivery services.
Always keep in mind that care delivery starts from the front desk then move further to care pathways where patients interact with lab resources, physicians , medical assistants, pharmacy and medical billing staff. Medical practitioners must productively mobilize all the departments to create a well-integrated working environment.
Make an easier Check-in Process For Patients:
It is the primary responsibility of medical practitioners to make every step convenient for the patients. They should facilitate their patients right from the check-in process. In this regard, they can implement electronic solutions that can collect data from patients while they come to visit the physician’s office.
Moreover, the front desk staff must behave friendly to the patents and communicate properly with them. If there is any lag in time then front desk staff must communicate and provide them a new time slot to streamline appointments. Provide a proper schedule to the patients so they may not be left stranded in the parking area without any schedule for the visit.
The front desk staff must be readily available to guide patients with proper answers to their queries. If patients would need to wait for so long to find answers to their questions then it could add to their frustration. It may also make patients get annoyed right in the beginning.
Create A plan For The Patient’s Visits:
Medical practitioners should be well trained to handle the visits with a well-defined plan. Discipline, alignment and proper timing should be the essence of this plan. Therefore, physicians must have a healthcare record of the patents that can help them to prepare for the particular patient’s visit in advance.
It will help physicians to increase the time slot of the patient’s visits by entering their personal information right at the point of care. In this regard, medical practitioners can use innovative solutions like EHR (Electronic health record) to optimize workflow and ensure accuracy in the data flow.
If medical practitioners have EHR in place then they can find the patient’s history easily without wasting huge amounts of time in paperwork. Therefore, it also helps physicians, nurses and medical staff to increase provider-patient interaction time. Medical practice administration should make sure to remove all the bottlenecks that can slow down the workflow.
The check-out phase of the patient’s visits is also one of the important aspects. At this step, medical staff should provide complete guidance/information and remind them of their follow-up visits if required.
Organize The Physical Setting Of Your Healthcare Center
Even if you are running a physician’s office, a huge hospital or any kind of healthcare center, you should make sure to create such physician settings that can help you designate patient flow. You should also consider making the entrance attractive and convenient that can welcome more patients into the office. Factors such as; who is going to meet patients at the entrance, sitting arrangements for the patients, activities they can do while waiting for their turn etc.
Most importantly, involvement of the patients in the care process with the doctors and medical staff improves the provider-patient relationship and confidence levels. Optimization of practice resources and appropriately meeting patient’s expectations can contribute a lot to increase patient flow. A well-designed patient flow should provide convenience to patients, improve patient-provider coordination and produce productive outcomes.
Create Partnership In The Marketplace
Increased patient flow means increased workload. Therefore, increased resources and equipment are required to manage excessive work burden. However, it is difficult for new practitioners to hire a lot of resources and divide their attention for each employee. Therefore, most of the medical practitioners prefer to outsource non-medical tasks such as front desk management, medical billing and coding, claim preparation and submission, payment posting and other operational tasks to optimize resource utilization with less headache.
Profitable partnership with a reliable medical billing company can help medical practitioners to acquire help of industry experts. In this way, this intuitive decision can lead them to streamline clinical processes and comply with the growth of their customer base.
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