Patient Flow Blog

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It’s no secret that healthcare’s latest trend is embracing Lean and eliminating waste throughout all facilities. This trend is especially prevalent in the design of ambulatory care facilities. In an effort to increase revenues and improve patient satisfaction scores, process improvement executives are completely rethinking their operational workflows.

This article highlights the numerous process improvement projects that are helping today’s top healthcare systems eliminate wasted effort and steps, improve operational workflows, and increase patient throughput.

One eye opening statistic mentioned within the article is how one clinic in North Georgia was able to reduce their clinic square footage by 27% by using lean design methods.

We all heard the old saying “Every Second Counts” and in healthcare seconds can be the difference between a satisfied patient or an unhappy one.

Many lean leaders will agree that you have to start small and take baby steps to achieve real progress towards your improvement goals. This is very prevalent in outpatient clinics where many basic tasks are performed over and over. Reducing the time it takes to do certain tasks by even 2-3 seconds can have a huge impact on a clinics’ bottom line.

This article paints a fantastic picture of what can happen when lean is applied in an outpatient setting. With so many options to look at improving where should you start? One place to start would be increasing patient satisfaction by reducing the overall wait times in your clinic.

Disney is the ideal example in customer-centered care. They make it their goal to provide each guest with a great experience. As healthcare further adopts a more value-based healthcare system, the experience and satisfaction of the patient is key to the success of the practice.

The 5 ways that drive Disney to create the ideal experience for each guest is discussed in this article. Many of these same ideas can be applied to healthcare. We first must understand our customer (patient) to provide what they need. Gathering data from patient satisfaction surveys based on their experience of the visit is one of the best ways to find out what our patients prefer, and how best to meet those needs.

The other 4 methods are the responsibility of the staff. Disney makes it the staff’s priority to be a part of every guest’s visit. The staff interacts with each guest at any opportunity, showing that they are appreciated. The staff also takes accountability for the overall visit. The push towards this customer/patient-centered approach has to flow from all areas in the healthcare practice – from CEO to part time employees – in order to be effective and successful.

The Disney customer experience is about making each guest feel special and noticed. Imagine if we did this in the healthcare setting for every patient. What a difference it would make!

As we shift towards Value-Based Care in 2017, many practices are overwhelmed by the technology options being presented to them to improve patient flow efficiency, overall patient experience and outcomes. There are 3 new categories of tools that will be helpful options:  Care Management Platforms, Telemedicine, and Analytics, as highlighted in this article.

The care management platforms allow for integration of patient portals, etc in order to centralize information. The patient’s data is in one location, so that care can be coordinated across all specialties, and improve the overall efficiency of care.

The newest of tools is that of Telemedicine. Technology allows us to reach patients in many ways, improving the overall health of the patient. It even allows for collaboration between providers regarding a patient.

Improving patient flow efficiency, the patient experience and healthcare outcomes is problematic without data. Data illustrates where improvements in a practice need to be made.

Value-Based healthcare is where we are headed. We now need to utilize the available data analytics tools to connect all aspects of healthcare, and thereby improve patient flow efficiency, experience and outcomes.

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