Private healthcare facilities are faced with countless challenges starting with keeping a steady stream of patients, improving their care and managing your costs. It is not easy to make a busy medical practice more productive, but once you start identifying your key problem areas you can start finding solutions one by one.
Your two best resources for pinpointing issues that are holding your practice back are the staff members and your patients. Start talking to them and you will find a myriad of ways where you can improve office efficiency.
1. Put Your People Where Their Strengths Are
One of the first things to look at is how you are utilizing your staff members. Are trained nurses and aides getting stuck behind the reception desk? That is taking them away from patient care, slowing down the flow of patients through the office. Make sure you have enough qualified people behind your front desk so that your medical support staff is able to utilize their special skills where they are needed the most.
2. Streamline Your Reception Area
There is a lot of time and energy being wasted in trying to reach out to patients over the phone. Invest in an automated appointment reminder system where you can send out appointment reminders, prescription information and the availability of test results via phone call or text message. This will avoid spending your time trying to reach them manually by phone and you know they received your automated message through the number(s) you have in their medical file.
3. Block Out Time For Administrative Work
One thing that is disrupting your patient flow is having to stop and talk with patients who call in on the phone. To eliminate this, make room in your daily schedule where you are available to take calls. Two blocks of time, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, should be sufficient. This way, when you send an automated reminder, you can also "schedule" when the patient will call in for their prescription information or test results. This will eliminate the need to have to interrupt an exam to take phone calls.
4. Collect Patient Information Online
Your patients are wasting a lot of their own time sitting in your office filling out forms. If you set up a secure website, they can fill out the forms from home at their convenience. Now when they enter your office, the receiving nurse will already have the pertinent information on hand and can take them right away to prep for the exam.
5. Use an Assistant
There should be one qualified member of your staff who acts as your assistant. It will be there job to keep track of patients, make sure that they are triaged, and remind you of who is waiting to be seen. They should also be capable of transcribing your notes, giving you more time to see patients.
Your goal as a physician should be to see as many patients as possible while still providing quality health care. This can be accomplished, but you first need to put systems into practice that will make your office run more efficiently.
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