Maximising Efficiency Within A Medical Practice

A medical centre with optimised practice management has a better chance of having satisfied clients, relaxed staff and focused doctors.
Achieving all three may seem unattainable, yet even if one of these areas is focused upon there is sure to be a follow-on effect.

Staying on top of a finely tuned medical practice or overhauling an inefficient one requires attention to detail.

Taking care of the small items and those seemingly unimportant decisions can have a profound effect on many areas of the practice once combined.

A practice that lacks efficiency can in turn limit the potential of a business to make a profit. More than just money, being efficient will save time, ensure accountability, enhance communication and improve the practice environment as a whole.

Wise Use Of Resources

We would all like to have an efficient business, but what exactly does that mean?

Material – Energy – Effort – Money – Time. Minimising the waste of these valuable resources can ensure a practice reaches its full potential. Simple to say but like any effort to instigate change, the answers lie in the detail.

We hope that these areas of potential improvement can act as a prompt to find practice inefficiencies specific to the setup of your medical practice.

Start With The Practice Flow

When thinking of medical practice flow, it may be helpful to look from more than one perspective. Doing so may assist in identifying a larger number of potential improvements.

A logical starting point would be tracing the journey that a patient at your practice makes, from the point of deciding to contact the practice, all the way through to their next visit. This could then be extended out to the work-flows of staff and doctors to further detect where processes can be improved.

Alternatively, sources of inefficiency could be looked at from the perspective of activities that occur before patient check-in, during the patient visit/check-out and post-visit.

Well Defined Staff Roles

Assessing the flow of all staff within a practice may highlight areas of improvement. Ensuring staff are equipped with good time management skills and that their tasks and responsibilities are broken down clearly will make for a solid start. This will ensure that staff workload is balanced and achievable.

Doctors answering phones, nurses making payments or reception staff trying to solve IT issues are good examples of time and resources that have been misplaced.

Keeping roles defined, ensures tasks are done correctly without the need for double handling. It also reduces the need of unnecessary corrections that take away much-needed resources from staff and doctors.

Ideally, a practice runs like a well-oiled machine where a patient passes smoothly through each stage of their visit. However, the positive human element within a medical practice is what can enrich a patient’s experience, rather than just the production line approach. At a minimum, finding the balance can be sought with the clever use of technology.

Automate Those Manual Processes

Paper registration forms, gap payment collection, calling to verify insurance details or confirming bookings – these types of manual administrative processes are at the expense of productivity. Automating them can mean a more organised front desk with time to properly interact with those around them and decrease waiting times for patients.

An online registration form means that patient details are taken care of ahead of time. Clients will for the most part appreciate automated SMS booking confirmations as they provide reminders for our increasingly busy lives. Patient wait times can also be reduced and may provide more time for doctors and staff to connect with clients.

Taking this further, patient kiosks, where a client can sign in themselves or electronic practice surveys on a tablet device can free up reception staff while collecting patient perspectives as to where improvement can be made.

Improved Staff Communication

The flow of communication between staff can be best addressed with a team approach that encompasses both clinical and non-clinical staff. This should be accompanied by staff training and education beforehand, as well as support from practice principals.

Creating this community of staff can assist to clarify roles and responsibilities while strengthening intra-practice relationships and dynamics. The creation of a more cohesive working environment then lends itself to fostering better connections with clients.

Proper training of staff in the use of Patient Management Systems, Electronic Medical Records software and other systems can then complement these improvements in communication between staff, doctors and ultimately patients.

Clever Use of Technology

Technology is often seen at the forefront of patient treatment but its influence upon patient experience, clinic processes and communication has changed radically in recent times.

Those medical centre’s already comfortable with utilising current technologies within a practice would have felt a smoother transition to the recent adoption of TeleHealth services. Of course, remotely located practices may have been impacted less due to using those services already, along with TeleManagement and Virtual Practice Management systems.

Be it TeleHealth or any other technology, finding the system that works with existing IT systems and staff processes requires patience and someone who understands the needs of all involved. Just dealing with an IT company or a software firm will only fulfil part of a medical centre’s needs rather than all requirements of the practice.

An Outside Perspective

Sometimes it can be hard to focus on those things that are so close to hand. Nicky can provide an independent perspective of practice operations, systems and processes.

Many years of experience in setting up and managing medical practices have seen Nicky develop a trained eye for both inefficiencies but more importantly the opportunities that lie beneath. By identifying areas that need to eliminated, updated or overhauled will create a more realistic environment for improvement.

Using a well-formulated plan, Nicky can then help implement these improvements with staff with the desired follow-on effect of raising both patient satisfaction and staff morale, while leaving doctors to focus on the consultation.

In the meantime, the natural potential for an increase in practice revenue will in turn help ensure success for the long term.

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139/9 Wirraway Street
Alexandra Headland, QLD 4572