As providers and administrators, you spend most of your day diagnosing and solving problems, however, when it comes to patient flow efficiency, the answers don’t always come easy. Many articles, like this one, suggest that it helps to map-out your process flow. Flow mapping will help you clarify and standardize complex processes, and it can reveal complexity in seemingly simple processes.
First, learn about past history. Determine whether this problem has been long term or if it has just come up in recent weeks. Has there been a history of patient flow bottlenecks and long wait times? Next, find out what the average patient experiences day-to-day. This could be done by walking through as a patient, or timing a handful of patients a day to see how long their wait time was, how much time they were able to spend with the doctor, and their overall door-to-door visit time, or, how long the patient spent in your practice from start to finish. Once this has been done, you will start to see your challenges, and notice any unnecessary or over-complicated tasks that are holding up your practice. Finally, you can now treat the source of the problem.
Once you have treated the source, you must help the new processes succeed by making sure everyone is fully implementing them and that by continuing to make small process improvements along the way, you can yield enormous gains in productivity, patient satisfaction and quality of care.
Check out this video perspective on Lean Patient Flow Measurement.
Check out this video perspective on Lean Patient Flow.