Many workflow problems begin with too few staff members, possibly the wrong person for a specific responsibility, or even a wrong mix of staff. Some other issues may be that physicians and staff are feeling overwhelmed, patient complaints, looking for missing charts and hunting for charts. Many physicians are all too familiar with these issues.
Several things may contribute to the office having these various issues. Sometimes it’s due to the lack of proper training. Physicians should always make it an environment where the staff feels comfortable coming to them with problems or issues that are happening in the office. Having periodic meetings with staff where you walk around the physical office and point out issues such as office layout or waiting room set-up is the copy machine too far from the desk etc. You could also consider hiring a practice-management consultant to evaluate your practices and office policies and design a plan for a better workflow.
Sometimes things can get messy when there are too many people doing one job or task. Analyze how many hands or procedures a task must go through to be completed. Also track the time it took the task to be completed from start to finish. Physicians may need to allow certain staff to make decisions instead of it sitting on the Physicians desk waiting for an answer which holds up the whole process.
Make sure to include the staff in any changes within the office and always ask for their suggestions and feedback.
When an office changes their software to a new system this also can create a bottleneck and slow things down in the office. Usually with a new software system, the company will hold training sessions with all staff members. Even with the training, it takes time for the office to adapt to the new system. Usually on average most people retain 25% of what you tell them on the first time because so much information is being given.
It is vital that the office gets adequate training and time is allowed for the staff members to retain the information. Training is good when it is in stages. Possibly start with an easier task on the software and allow the office to use the information for a couple of days and then add another feature of the software. Check with the staff and find out if they understand it and if not, what area needs to be focused on to achieve a level of understanding.
Physicians need to be attentive and interested in every step, and keeping the office workflow efficient is not something you do just once. It takes time and constant attention to achieve the results you want.