As we continue to explore opportunities to improve patient engagement at various points in the workflow, let’s consider the patient’s actual experience at your office or facility.
If pre-registration has been appropriately addressed, there are trickle-down benefits to onsite registration as well. (Patients can fill out forms at home, staff have necessary information before the patient even arrives, patients spend less time in the waiting room, and appointments run on schedule.)
There is also the opportunity, however, to more thoroughly consider the patient check-in experience and to create a paperless process, whether by using tablets or computer stations.
At this point, returning patients and patients with all other information already completed should have an “express” check-in option with minimal input needed.
The technology that you select also should allow patients who did not pre-register to quickly and digitally complete any forms that your office requires. Maximizing efficiency at this stage of the workflow can provide a more pleasant experience for patients and staff alike and can even allow a greater number of patients to be scheduled.
A seamless on-site experienceIt’s important to note that check-in – and any information that is gathered at check-in – should lead seamlessly to the rest of the patient’s on-site experience.
Think about your own healthcare experiences for a moment.
Chances are that you can identify with the experience of being asked by a staff member the same questions that you already answered in your paperwork, or even worse, being asked the same questions by more than one staff member within a matter of minutes.
This frustrating experience can leave patients wondering if there was any value to the forms they filled out and whether anyone is actually recording the information that they provide. A HuffPost blog about redundant paperwork captured this frustration perfectly: “The more times you’re asked to fill out forms or provide data, the less enthusiasm you have for the relationship.”
Data should be cumulative and easily located.
Instead of leaving this negative impression with your patients, and instead of having paper notes that disrupt your workflow, imagine instead that each member of your team who interacts with a patient is contributing to a single, continuous stream of information that is being captured exactly where it should be: in the patient’s medical record.
When the data that is being entered at each stage of a patient’s visit builds upon previous data in exactly the same place and is immediately available to the next staff member, less time is spent searching for information or repeating questions that have already been answered – more opportunities for patient engagement and more time is spent in the actual interaction with the patient.
How close is your practice to achieving the seamless workflow described above?
Perhaps you’re happy with your patient portal or you’ve figured out all of the features of your EMR – but do you have a solution that covers every point of the patient experience and uses automation to put the right information into the right hands at the right time?
If the answer is “no,” it’s time to find the vendor and the technology that can bridge the gaps in your processes and help you deliver the best possible care to your patients.