Never give up on improving patient flow

Have you ever tried timing how long it takes patients to work their way through your office--from the moment they walk in the front door to the time they leave the building? Have you ever yourself traced all of the physical steps required by everyone involved in a single visit--from check-in to check-out?

If you want to increase your office's efficiency, not to mention patient and staff satisfaction, these are two worthwhile exercises, explains a recent piece in American Medical News about optimizing patient flow. According to a recent survey from the Medical Group Management Association, this is a priority area that helps to set top performers apart from the rest.

Thus, as you analyze patients' and employees' trajectories through your practice, ask yourself if any of the following 'puddles' may be slowing your patient encounters down:

  • Is any signage out of date or potentially misleading to patients?
  • Are any supplies staff or providers need regularly more than an arm's length away?
  • Is there unnecessary redundancy in any common staff processes?
  • Are your most time-consuming appointments (e.g., new patient visits) scheduled on the same day, or spread throughout the week?
  • Do providers clearly inform patients when a visit is over and where they need to go to check out?

"Can we make this a little bit better? The answer is always yes, and it's never a done deal," L. Gordon Moore, MD, who has studied patient flow and is president of Ideal Medical Practices, told amednews.

To learn more:
- read the article in American Medical News