Improving Workflow AND the Patient Experience

    

I love to cook when I’m not traveling for work. There’s something calming about it. I think all of the late nights watching Bobby Flay and the Food Network got me hooked. They made it look so easy and effortless. I was beyond ecstatic when I bought a shiny, new food processor. The sky seemed to be the limit when it came to the meals it could help me prep. I felt like I could be in a league somewhere near his with all of my Inspector Gadget-like kitchen devices.

The moment I returned home, I started throwing stuff in there for a test drive. Onions? A breeze. Celery? No problem! It sliced and diced carrots like a samurai sword would. I was amazed at how much time this was going to save me. I showed it off to my roommates like a proud father, but also as a cautious one.

I made sure to let everyone know that if they used it, they would have to be extremely careful. You see, I had read the directions (yes, some men actually read the directions) and there were several mentions about being cautious when cleaning the blade. Remember that samurai sword comment above? Yeah, the blade is sharp.

As I was CAUTIOUSLY cleaning the blade, using a dish wand instead of a close-combat sponge, the dish wand slipped out of my hand on the downward stroke and my right knuckles decided to kiss the blade ever so sweetly.

Now, growing up in the 1980s, I picked up a ton of knowledge from years of watching the original MacGyver TV series. Using that type of insight, I decided to close the wound with Super Glue, a Popsicle stick and duct tape. My roommates had other another idea, which was far more boring—but I decided to heed it.

So I grabbed some headphones, a battery charger and my phone, figuring that I’d be in for a long ER wait on a Friday night. But as I walked into the ER, I was amazed that there were only a handful of people in the waiting room and I was quickly called to the registration desk.

This is when the real wait came. With years of experience implementing registration workflows and electronic legal records, I decided to use this real-life, behind-the-scenes opportunity to examine the patient experience, and bring this data back to the demo team I worked with at the time.

I felt like I was on a Sunday drive as there was no urgency to get me registered. They weren’t concerned that I was being asked twice, and sometimes three times, for the same information. They photocopied my ID and insurance cards and sent them to the medical records department to be scanned in later. The clerk became a bit uneasy when I started asking why I was asked for the same thing multiple times, why I was signing two different instances of the same form, or why they were having patients signing on paper still. 

The clerk politely apologized and said, “This is the way we have always done things.”

They didn’t seem to be prepared for an informed patient of new technologies, which was unfortunate because the rest of my visit went much better than anticipated. With the right electronic forms, electronic signature and other software solutions in place, registration is one of the areas where a hospital can most easily enhance the patient experience.

Now, being in the business, I do have a leg up on understanding the impact of such technology. However, most patients also now expect hospitals to use technology that simplifies their experience rather than detract from it. And workflows that worked years ago are not necessarily the ones that are best today.

I know the first thing supervisors or higher-ups are saying: “Mike, we don’t have time to reevaluate how we do things.” A majority of staff likely would raise the white flag saying there is enough on their plate as it is.

However, stepping out of our comfort zone and daily habits to evaluate how we can be more productive and efficient is an exercise worth pursuing from time to time. When hospitals do that with their technologies and routines, they can dramatically improve the patient experience in the process. Patient care options seem to be increasing more and more, so don’t give people a reason to go to the hospital down the road.

If you’re looking to improve clinical or administrative workflows and reduce your paper footprint, please feel free to contact us for a demonstration of how Access can reduce costs, improve processes and introduce the latest innovations into your organization. For our existing customers, now might be the time to see if you are getting the most out of your Access system, and we can perform a health check anytime. 

About The Author - Mike Bugara

From electronic forms to HIS to ECM platforms, Mike has seen—and demonstrated—it all. His innovative approach to showcasing Access’s integrated solutions makes him a valuable resource to hospitals evaluating paperless technologies. Currently a sales engineer, Mike’s eclectic work background includes management, implementation, marketing and more.

Feel free to email me here.