How Can Doctors Improve Clinical Workflow: 13 Expert Tips
- Digital Health, Tech

How Can Doctors Improve Clinical Workflow: 13 Expert Tips

In a nutshell, from leveraging digital technologies to automating processes, there are several steps that the doctors can take to overcome barriers and optimize clinical workflows.

Innovative digital technologies are being constantly embedded in the DNA of healthcare organizations at a pace faster than ever before. However, clinical workflow management remains a crucial concern for healthcare providers. As the providers witness incredible pressure to do more in less time, health IT technology tools portray themselves as a practical solution to managing clinical workflow. EHRs are perhaps the most widely accredited technology in this domain.

However, it remains imperative to note that merely implementing new technologies doesn’t guarantee efficient workflows. Instead, poorly-integrated solutions can significantly hinder clinical workflows by inefficient activities such as duplication of data across multiple applications. It should, therefore, be a primary concern to evaluate the potential impact of a given solution on the workflows of the medical practice before actually implementing it.

On the other hand, efficient and well-integrated solutions, such as effective EHR systems, significantly reduce administrative burdens, allow seamless exchange of data, and empower the clinicians for better decision making. Sharing of vital data in real-time and across clinical and non-clinical applications supports bi-directional workflow within the practice. This, then, eliminates the chances of data duplication by automating tedious, manual tasks such as patient chart retrieval, etc.

Below is a list of 13 expert tips from healthcare innovators and thought leaders to aid you in selecting the best solutions that overcome the existing clinical workflow constraints and enhance the processes instead:

  1. Identify opportunities to improve workflows.

You cannot bring in work efficiencies without identifying the potential for improvements. It is advised that you deploy value-stream maps for highlighting workflow processes that merit attention and improvement. You should, then, evaluate the flow and determine the most effective strategy to standardize the best practices at your office. This will eventually help you eliminate waste in your work processes.

  1. Minimize no-shows and relevant downtime
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Patient scheduling is one of the most critical operational systems in any medical practice. It is, thus, imperative to maximize patient appointments and minimize the downtime related to no-shows. Using an efficient EHR system, you can foster a smooth and seamless experience for both the providers and the patients to enhance operational efficiency ultimately.

  1. Communicate regularly

Communication is the key to operational efficiency in any organization, and the healthcare industry is no exception. It is advised that you spare enough time for daily communication tasks and interact with your team regularly. This might include responding to patient messages, answering queries posed by your staff, coordinating lab orders and medication refill requests, and so forth. The best practice is to set aside a few minutes before your first appointment in the morning and another few right after the lunch break before you start your afternoon appointments. This will significantly help you and your staff to prioritize the clinical workflows and thereby improve efficiency.

  1. Keep the patient check-in and check-out process simple and easy.

The complexities involved in the patient check-in and check-out processes inevitably lead to bottlenecks that impact clinical efficiencies. The patients might be late for their appointment or might have to cancel their visit last moment, or even get caught up with extensive paperwork right at the front desk. Even after the visit, the patient might have to schedule a follow-up or a diagnostic test or might have to be referred to another physician for specialty care. Simplifying these processes will bring in clinical workflow efficiencies at your practice while also boosting patient satisfaction levels.

  1. Consider patient expectations while designing clinical workflows.
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When designing your clinical workflows, it will considerably help if you take patients’ perspective into account. Understanding patient expectations throughout the care delivery process dramatically help align the organizational policies, procedures, and activities for clinical efficiencies. The best way is to put yourself in the shoes of your patients and determine how well a particular policy or procedure impacts you.

  1. Leverage technology and automate tasks.

Automation is the key to improving clinical workflows in today’s digital age. Leveraging technology at every opportunity will help you streamline your workflows and automate several routine manual tasks. The adoption of EHR systems is the best practice application that deploys technology to streamline the processes of healthcare organizations. Allowing easy access and seamless exchange of vital data across the care continuum, EHRs enable streamlining clinical workflows while easing the administrative burden of managing physical records.

  1. Go paperless

It would help if you aimed to go paperless for all your manual tasks. It is advised you automate the check-in and check-out processes to remove any bottlenecks and create an overall positive patient visit experience. This will significantly facilitate streamlining administrative tasks while also minimizing administrative burden.

  1. Implement EHR as a must-have

A clinician-centered EHR is vital to improving the workflow of your practices. Such a system will practically support workload management while facilitating the flexible flow of patients and tasks. Moreover, it will streamline the clinical workflows to maximize the operational efficiency of your practice.

  1. Adopt lean methodologies

Lean methodologies are increasingly being deployed alongside EHR systems to improve clinical workflows. The underlying premise behind this approach is to understand the steps in the care delivery process and remove or re-engineer those leading to wastes while preserving those that add value to the overall process. An efficient EHR system will document all patient encounters, from check-in through check-out to enhance care coordination and help the practice run smoothly.

  1. Leverage AI for point-of-care learning
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Artificial Intelligence has the potential to deliver information to providers as clinical questions arise. Providers can use AI to personalize the content they need by analyzing useful practice data and self-completed assessments. Additionally, AI can significantly reduce the clinical documentation burden on physicians.

  1. Go virtual

Virtualization is, undoubtedly, one of the leading strategies to cut IT costs. By going virtual, you can significantly eliminate silos across geographic regions and throughout the enterprise to avoid redundancies and remove inefficiencies. It radically transforms the clinical workflows, especially in EHRs, remote working, and connected health.

  1. Configure EHRs to meet your specific clinical workflows

It would help if you got your EHR customized to meet the specific workflow needs of your specialty. Specializing clinical workflows to display the most commonly used functionalities essentially facilitates in easy navigation of EHRs, which in turn enhances operational efficiency.

  1. Conduct EHR audits and measures performance.

Conducting regular EHR system audits is likely to yield valuable information for a number of reasons. For instance, this information can be used as a benchmark to measure the impact of future optimization projects. You should, then, measure your performance around strategic priorities and compile your results to determine an optimization opportunity.

In a nutshell, from leveraging digital technologies to automating processes, there are several steps that the doctors can take to overcome barriers and optimize clinical workflows.

How Can Doctors Improve Clinical Workflow: 13 Expert Tips

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