The amount of time your patient spends in the exam room has a direct impact on satisfaction ratings. Healthcare reform demands cost cutting and requires more efficient use of staff time, too. Consider five ways you can save time for both the clinician and patient by improving the workflow in the exam room.
1. Completing Documentation Before the Visit
This requires making forms available online. A new patient can fill out the necessary paperwork before they walk into the office. Providing these forms ahead of time also gives the patient some flexibility when filling them out. The information is more accurate because they have time to look things up, ask questions, and improve legibility. There is no pressure to complete the form to expedite the appointment.
2. Create Standardized Workspaces
Each of the exam rooms should have a similar set-up with core inventory easy to locate. This cuts back on time searching for the right BP cuff or looking for a cotton swab. Nothing looks quite so inefficient as a doctor who can’t find something, or needs to ask where stuff is.
Along with a standardized workspace, keep as much inventory in the exam room as possible. You should rarely need to leave the room for something to complete the exam.
3. Go Mobile with the EHR
Setting up computer workstations outside of the exam room means physicians and nurses have to do the work twice. They take notes during the exam, and then walk to the computer to enter the information. Switching to mobile EHR devices, such as tablets and laptop computers, means you enter data during the exam. It also improves transparency and trust for patients. Use these devices to show the patient information about a specific drug or have them confirm their preferred pharmacy.
4. Offer Patient Education Videos
You enhance patient education and save time in one simple step when you offer medical videos either as part of the visit or online. The human brain is designed to process visual content. Studies show the 83% of learning occurs visually. By giving your patients access to videos about their health, wellness care or an upcoming procedure, you enhance their understanding and save time explaining things in the exam room.
5. Develop a Well-Organized Workflow
The better your workflow strategy, the more time you save in the exam room. From the minute the patient walks into the building to picking up their prescriptions at the pharmacy, the system should work like a well-oiled machine.
Make sure every member knows their role to reduce redundancies, and have a system in place that works no matter who is on the schedule. Workflow should practically run itself. With the right standards and protocols in place, it doesn’t matter who handles intake or does the assessment. All tasks work towards improving patient care and reducing the amount of time it takes to provide it.
Making the exam room more efficient gives the physician time to focus on the patient. This improves outcomes without increasing the time it takes to go from patient to patient.