The goal of you as a medical practitioner is not only to provide treatment but also to make your patients feel better. One way to do this is by seeing patients as soon as they arrive, and eliminating the wait hours for your patients. What to do for this to happen?
It is a patient flow management issue that is easily resolved if you implement these super six ways to reduce wait times of your patients in the hospitals.
1. Using a patient flow management system.
It is not really acceptable to make your patients wait outside the examination room hours altogether before they consult you. Getting a patient management system allows patients to queue up from anywhere, using their phone or on the Internet. The patient management system (PMS) will schedule appointments, and patients arrive right in time after getting a status update via SMS or Whatsapp. They can walk in, and be called in to be seen by the doctor without having to wait for long.
2. Integrating PMS with your healthcare information system.
Identity of your patients waiting in the queue must be available instantly to authorized medical staff, for scheduling immediate follow-ups and subsequent visits in future – if required. To do this, integrating the patient flow management system with your existing healthcare information system is necessary. This will help push the newly acquired data on current patients into the HIS, for future reference.
3. Preparing medical staff for examinations before patients arrive
Staff must be ready to provide the services needed by identifying patients, the illness or injury they are coming to you for, and the tests or physician required to handle the case. So the staff should be able to bring up patient records from HIS for someone who just got in line, or the investigation reports from the electronic health records (EHR) system.
4. Asking patients to upload copies of reports and previous medical history.
Send a Whatsapp message or email notifying patients of the time and date of their appointment, along with a patient information form that you would typically ask them to fill up once they arrive. Ask them to fill it up online, and reply back (or upload it to PMS) along with the reports and previous medical history documents they have. This will mean the file is prepared and ready to be seen by the doctor as soon as the patient arrives for the appointment.
5. Using provided data to schedule needed tests before patients are examined by a physician.
In some cases, such as surgery, health checkups, cardiac care, diabetes, broken bones or other physical injuries, patients must go through pre-examination tests such as BP or sugar level testing, blood and urine samples, undergo X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, etc. These tests can be scheduled by your staff depending on the patient information form and reports provided by the patient before they arrive.
Example, you can make it easier for diabetic patients who want to test their sugar and get their GP to suggest the proper course of treatment and changes in insulin dosage depending on the results. First, you have to take a fasting blood sample before the patient has breakfast, then tell them to go have breakfast, and then come again to provide another sample, and then – after waiting for the blood test results, then they get to see a doctor.
Instead of wasting the patient’s time and making them go back and forth like this, you can make it really simple for them, and more efficient for the lab assistant and doctor. Make the patient fill up a Diabetes checkup form online, stating their preferred time for each of the required tests. Send the lab assistant to the patient’s home to take the first blood sample, and then let them come to the lab for the second sample, immediately to be followed by the scheduled appointment with the doctor.
Providing such patient-friendly experiences where you reduce wait time in hospitals makes people feel better, and they will be loyal patients who will want to come back to you next time they need to see a doctor.