How to Improve Patient Turnaround Time without Compromising Healthcare Quality

Amanda Guerrero

Amanda Guerrero

Posted on April 26, 2013

Moving patients quickly through your office without compromising care quality requires careful planning and a methodical execution. The effort to maximize patient flow is worth it, though, as doing so is a great way to improve performance and enhance patients’ experience while visiting your practice.
Here are five easy ways to improve patient turnaround time without sacrificing quality of care:

  1. Assess current patient flow. You can do this by walking through the entire process as the patient, from the front door to the check-out station. You can time things such as how long it takes patients to check in and fill out paperwork and how long the average wait time is in the exam room. This will help you figure out where patient flow is lacking.
  2. Phase changes in gradually. After areas for improvement have been identified, you should choose one thing to work on at a time. Tackling too many things at once can be confusing and counterproductive. If you want changes to be effective and to catch on with employees, they should be gradual.
  3. Implement scheduling software. Getting organized and making sure that staff members understand best practices for scheduling can make a world of difference. Practice management software can help staff book appointments more efficiently, such as spreading new patient appointments (which take longer) evenly throughout the day.
  4. Prep exam rooms ahead of time. Assign a nurse or medical assistant to make sure your exam rooms are ready for any scheduled procedures. This will reduce waiting times for patients and will allow you to make more valuable use of your time.
  5. Familiarize yourself with your EHR. Implementing electronic health record software is becoming unavoidable – and there are many benefits that the software can provide, as long as you know how to use it and create proper interfaces with other software. Poor EHR training can prolong a visit unnecessarily, creating an inconvenience for both you and your patient.

Has your practice implemented any strategies for reducing patient turnaround time? Share them with us in the comments.

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