Those of us in health care are all too familiar with the issues of adequate staffing and getting innumerable tasks done. Many aspects of health care are still very labor intensive despite all the technology available. Department leaders are pressured to take on more patient volumes, but struggle to accomplish that goal with either the same or lower staffing levels.
The answer is often determining how to improve overall workflow efficiency. A key starting point is examining options to maximize the efficiency of personnel. Some key questions to consider are:
- What tasks still involve paper or fax record retrieval in your program/office?
- How much time are various personnel in your department spending on trying to obtain patient documents from other offices, practices, or hospitals?
- How often are these tasks achieved with only one phone call or contact?
What if you could have a single resource solely focused on this task? The resulting benefits of this workflow change include:
- Facilitating timely clinic scheduling – records are available quickly, so scheduling of patient appointments is not delayed, waiting for medical history information to be available.
- More effective office encounter for patients – providers have access to a complete set of records needed to have a productive first appointment, which can expedite the start of a treatment plan, driving increased provider satisfaction.
- Streamlined triage of new patients so they are seen by the most appropriate provider – having complete data available to make better decisions for the patient, resulting in expedited care and increased patient satisfaction.
An internal resource focused on this activity is often not feasible given staffing limitations and the increasing need for department staff to multi-task. The technology-enabled solution from eHealth Technologies is an option that hospital departments should consider. The team at eHealth Technologies becomes an extension of your staff to focus solely on retrieving and preparing new patient records, leveraging a fully digital, end-to-end solution.
This option relieves your staff of the many tedious aspects of requesting, obtaining, organizing, and preparing patient information for record review by the clinical team. The workflow improvement department experience includes:
- Secure delivery of records in an indexed/organized format with the ability to search for key terms.
- Access to outside record and images that have been retrieved within the EMR.
- Time savings for staff and the ability for staff to focus on other tasks that make the department more effective in providing a quality patient experience.
- Expedited record review for providers because they are reviewing an electronic data set versus sifting through countless pieces of paper.
The simple, but time-consuming tasks associated with retrieving and organizing records and images become a burden for your staff when faced with staffing challenges and growing patient volumes. As more patients are referred to your program, it’s important to understand your options in driving workflow efficiencies, therefore reducing the need for more FTEs.