Everyone has visited a hospital at some point in their life and has seen how complex and hectic managing a healthcare institute is. Workflow management in any healthcare facility is always difficult as human lives are at stake, but that’s exactly why it should be constantly improved.
Hospitals normally have stringent and well-developed procedures, rules, and policies to enforce operations efficiently and safely. However, even with that, some inefficiencies need improving, especially within the non-medical medical aspect of running such a facility.
This article is going to discuss the value of workflow management in the healthcare industry. While it may be impossible to fully operate a hospital or a clinic at a 100% efficiency rating, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
Poor Workflows Do Not Help The Patients, Employees, And Revenues
It’s still quite common not to have a tightly organized workflow system in smaller healthcare providers. Though it doesn’t cause many problems and might only cause some delays, as the establishment grows and takes in more patients, it can become a major hurdle. While informal or ‘improv’ methods can actually work, they will ultimately cause stress and frustration should they fail.
Missing logs and records can be rectified rather immediately if there are only a few patients, but it can easily balloon into something uncontrollable. Simply put, poor and “good enough” workflow does not help any medical establishments, and they may even prove detrimental to the patients.
Healthcare Workflows Need To Be Interconnected
A common approach to designing workflows is to focus on one department only and then attempt to connect different departments. While this can work if there are only a few departments with less complicated workflows, it can be harder to apply the same approach to larger healthcare providers. This is why it’s more advisable to design workflows that are interconnected to each other. This ensures a more seamless and efficient productivity output in the workplace.
Effective Communication Through Technology
Technology provides us multiple means of communication. From the instant and short-form chat messages to the now-more professional and long-form email, to even video conference calls. There’s a multitude of ways to connect with patients, doctors, and coworkers.
Nowadays, online medical consultations are even available. This removes the need for critical or sensitive patients to travel to a hospital, where they may be exposed to other infectious diseases. Doctors can also relegate less time to meeting patients as they only need to use laptops to do checkups. Online medical consultations allow patient-doctor communication more conveniently. Still, they can also allow healthcare colleagues to communicate in a much more efficient manner.
Automation Is Key
A recommended solution for a better workflow management system is automation. Manual and repetitive tasks can be replaced by digital systems, which lessens the risk of human error and helps lessen the burden on the staff. There are now various automation solutions for healthcare providers, from documentation, data transfer and filling, to laboratory billing solutions.
Another form of a more realistic form of automation is through the use of digital logs. Tablets containing data for both patients and the workers can be accessed through various means, like smartphones, tablets, or computers. Through such logging methods, there is the guarantee that no data will be lost. Logs will also be automatically updated, making the process entirely automated with very little loss in efficiency.
Good Workflows Improves Patient Outcomes
The effects of an effective workflow do not only affect the staff; it also aids patient outcomes. If there is a proper system for data filling and transfer, it minimizes the possibility of patient information being missed out during shift handovers. This means treatment decisions and applications would be made correctly, and patient readmission will lessen. For example, online medical records can also be easily maintained and accessed, making collaboration between doctors easier as they can immediately share the data and discuss it amongst each other.
The most common problem in the healthcare industry is the lack of information sharing. And not because of distrust, but the sheer inefficiency of providing medical information to a patient expecting that they will repeat it to their next doctor or even provide their own medical logs.
Developing or acquiring a proper and effective workflow management software is needed for better healthcare service. The staff needs to function in an organized fashion. This way, patients will be more satisfied, staff can focus on more important tasks, and the business also increases revenues.