How to Optimize your Healthcare Workflow

Posted by Brinna Hanson on January 12th, 2021
Author
Brinna Hanson
Brinna is a marketing professional and recent graduate of the University of Minnesota. Brinna joined Smart Data Solutions in 2019 to assist the marketing department reach new heights with a focus on the HubSpot inbound process. From her time at Smart Data as well as at previous internships, Brinna has been able to gain knowledge in many different aspects of marketing as a whole.

Healthcare workflows can range from the most simple of tasks to very complex processes that require diligent monitoring to continue to flow efficiently. Understanding how to optimize those workflows to reduce waste is critical to keep clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations running smoothly.

Organizational workflows have a direct impact on both the quality and quantity of work being done. Providing quality care affects everything from patient outcomes and the patient experience to the finances of the organization.

In order to optimize your healthcare workflow, here are a few practices that can help identify and find solutions for things like inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and redundant work.

Workflow Automation

Automating processes helps eliminate bottlenecks that can occur with manual entry. Automation can include voice-activated dictation and diagnosis, barcode scanning for patient information, as well as moving completely to electronic health records.

Adopt EHR Best Practices

Adopting best practices for managing electronic health records (EHR) can improve productivity, prevent human error, and streamline complicated processes. All the while, maintaining heightened security for protected health information (PHI) and managing more collateral quicker as less time is spent managing EHRs.

Step Away From Paper Documentation

Paper processes are becoming outdated and don’t allow for clean, streamlined workflows in healthcare entities. Despite a major shift towards automation and electronic record management, there are still manual administrative tasks with paper documentation that take up time and slow down your workflow.

Think about receiving a fax. A patient faxes a form containing PHI to their clinic, it’s printed, scanned, and entered into the system and then shredded to maintain confidentiality. With things such as electronic fax-to-email solutions the entire process of printing and handling paper documents can be eliminated.

Utilize AI and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used in your automation practices to increase accuracy and speed in which data can be processed. Machine Learning on the other hand will continually improve as it teaches itself how to more accurately read data.

Remove Workflow Bottlenecks

If areas of your workflow are getting jammed up, creating a bottleneck, it’s a clear indication that there’s an issue. Maybe that area of the organization is understaffed and thus on busy days the work isn’t getting completed. Or, perhaps your data shows that only particular forms get stalled in the process because they are too complex or haven’t been optimized to their fullest. There are simple fixes to these kinds of things that can improve your workflow by adjusting staffing, optimizing forms, upgrading systems, and more.

Remove Unnecessary Steps

Have you moved to electronic data processing, but still have manual checks in place? It can be difficult for a team to fully adopt and use a new system or new process. But, these manual processes still in place could be wasting valuable resources that could be allocated elsewhere. Determine which areas are working and which are not to remove unnecessary steps in your process. This can both improve efficiency and better utilize all job functions.

Adopt Just-In-Time Processing

Workflow management shows that batch processing is something that can cause bottlenecks and add unnecessary steps and may not work efficiently in every health management system. When batching, you allow a certain amount of work build up and then handle it all at one time. Just-In-Time processing, though it sounds like it may be more work, switches quickly between tasks in any given moment, which actually increases productivity and ensures work gets done.

One way to adopt Just-In-Time processing is by completing all your tasks as they come in. This can especially reduce bottlenecks in administrative functions within the business. The more things that are pushed off the higher likelihood they will cause delays or be processed inefficiently. 

Standardize Processes Across the Board

And lastly, standardizing your healthcare workflow management can be the key to keeping things consistent, efficient, and effective across your organization. With every employee having the same goals and standards for completing their work the organization can boost compliance, reduce waste, and improve communication, thus streamlining your workflows.

Smart Data Solutions offers a multitude of tools that you can use to optimize and enhance your healthcare workflows. We heavily utilize machine learning in our systems to ensure your data is safe, secure, and accurate. Interested in more information on how to streamline your processes? Contact us here to get started!

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