Like many of you, I’m anxious to close out the year and focus on what’s next in 2022. Over the past several weeks, I asked our team to talk with clients about the key challenges they anticipate when it comes to accessing patient data for newly referred patients.
Among the partners we spoke to, three shared challenges emerged at the top of their lists:
Managing staffing shortages and turnover
Health care is not alone in the ongoing struggle to recruit and retain talent. Lack of adequate staff and continual training, re-training, and cross-training not only takes its toll on your team – it’s tough on your organization’s leadership as well.
Balanced staffing is necessary to ensure smooth operations and high-quality patient care. Continuous disruptions can lead to challenges with patient experience and satisfaction, and affect staff/provider fulfillment. The result is a trickle-down effect: You’re unable to schedule new patient appointments as quickly as you’d like, your team cannot adequately prepare for newly referred patients because staff can’t secure patient history information, and you’re missing key information that’s needed to ensure a productive first appointment.
eHealth Technologies can support your team to make sure there are no gaps for your team or your patients. As an extension of your team, we focus on making sure clinical teams have easy, timely access to a complete medical record for new patients.
Lack of consistency in patient volumes
Over the past 18 months, our industry has experienced previously unimaginable roadblocks to providing care for patients. Whether it’s limiting in-person appointments to ensure the health and safety of staff and patients, reducing or eliminating elective surgeries and health screenings, or lack of staffing or beds – the challenges vary from day to day.
Leaders are struggling to manage unexpected volumes and capacity issues. The ebb and flow of incoming patient levels rarely follow historical patterns. Not only does this create chaos in your day-to-day operations, it makes it even more challenging to stay on track with patient volume targets.
How can your team be ready for an upsurge of patients when conditions settle down – AND still handle volume swings during times of high COVID infection rates? A streamlined process for new patient intake, maximizing the use of a secure automation process with your EMR, along with stable resources to handle the ebbs and flows of patient volume can ensure your department’s success. eHealth Technologies has provided this type of support for many of our clients throughout the pandemic.
Managing cancer patients with later stage disease progression
This is one of the most heart-wrenching trends we’ve seen: Our cancer center clients report that the delay in screenings and diagnosis of cancers as the result of pandemic shutdowns is becoming increasingly evident. Patients are coming in for treatment with more advanced disease progression than typically seen.
To expedite care for these patients, teams need access to complete prior medical records as quickly as possible. Not only does patient health information need to be acquired quickly – it should be delivered in a way that allows clinical teams to expedite record review. I’m happy to share that even during these challenging times, many eHealth Technologies clients have reduced their time to first appointment and time to treatment by up to 80%.
While there’s a tough road ahead for 2022, we are optimistic about the quality of care that will be accessible to patients thanks to the innovative spirit of health care leaders across the country. We are proud to partner with health systems to provide advances in technologies and process improvements that drive our mission – to provide seamless access to healthcare information, enabling caregivers to focus on what matters most – patients.