You know first-hand what it’s like to see a waiting room quickly crowding with patients or knowing that you and your staff are working extra hours to make sure everything gets done.
Although it may feel as though it’s the nature of the beast, there are always improvements that can be made to relieve pressure from practice staff and provide a better patient experience. By streamlining some processes and implementing some key workplace efficiencies, you can reduce common backlogs and have your practice running more harmoniously for your patients, your staff, and yourself.
1. Diagnose the problem
Take an objective look at your practice for any symptoms of inefficiencies. Completely removing the problem may not be an option, but wherever files are stacking up or someone is looking more stressed than usual, an action can be taken to relieve the pressure. Here are some questions to consider:
- Is your triage optimised for your practice? Generally, allied health and nursing-led triage is a good approach for high volumes of low-risk presentations and well-established urgency criteria. Consultant-led triage is often most effective in clinics with low volumes of rare or high-risk presentations.
- Could technology help to reduce admin in areas such as booking, checking in, handling patient notes, or processing payments?
- Is there a way to enhance crucial functions, like patient education or referrals, that won’t interrupt your consultation workflow?
2. Delegate wherever possible
Some employees feel unsatisfied by repetitive tasks, frazzled by chaos, or unstimulated without a bit of human interaction – and it shows in their work. This is when having clearly defined roles, outsourcing certain tasks, or introducing sharing tasks is worth exploring.
Delegation and task-sharing is an excellent way to:
- Free up constantly busy people by entrusting their co-workers with some of their tasks.
- Improve morale and reduce burnout, when it comes to more frantic areas, such as a busy reception desk.
- Make covering roles easier, when one or more people are on leave due to holidays or illness.
3. Digitise whenever feasible
Many time-consuming functions can – at the very least - be partly transferred from a manual process to a digital one. Even though it might feel like more trouble than it’s worth, once you have been through a secure set-up and staff training, it’s more than worthwhile.
You may consider automating:
- Employee reminders for regularly scheduled tasks in cloud-based calendars
- Patient appointment reminders and booking notifications via SMS
- Secure invoicing and follow-up communications through accounting software