More than ever, today’s healthcare practices need to find ways to streamline operations, reduce costs, and minimize inefficiencies to remain competitive, maintain their profit margin, and grow their practices. That’s because the costs of continued reliance on outdated manual processes and procedures are skyrocketing. Only by improving your practices’s processes, efficiencies, and technology can you keep up with an ever more competitive and demanding healthcare delivery space.
Practices like yours are also grappling with ways to innovate their operations to better support their admin teams. Adopting workflow best practices and technology tools allows your staff members to work smarter instead of harder. Your front office staff is likely overwhelmed with repetitive and time-consuming tasks that add to their stress, which can contribute to burnout and turnover.
By minimizing these pressures with better processes and workflow automation, you’re boosting your practice’s productivity while providing your admin team with the support and resources they need to perform at a high level.
Let’s look at some ways you can introduce better workflows and more effective resources to your front office operations to achieve a win-win for your practice and your staff.
Why do I need to review my practice’s current use of manual processes and procedures?
The simple answer is that the impact of these manual, less effective processes and workflows is limiting your productivity, overwhelming your front office team, dulling your practice’s competitive edge, and preventing you from bringing in greater revenue.
Most healthcare providers and practices are moving toward greater automation to maximize their front offices’ effectiveness and efficiency. Consider the benefits of automation in upgrading your processes and technology:
- 73% of IT leaders attribute as much as 50% of time savings in performing tasks to automation.
- 41% of business owners say they are using automation extensively across multiple functions
- 50% of business leaders are planning to increase the automation of repetitive tasks within their company.
- 57% of IT leaders say automation saves 10%–50% on the business costs associated with manual processing.
And it’s not just businesses in general that are migrating to cost-saving approaches. Healthcare practices are also on the move. In 2022, 51% of healthcare industry organizations considered adding automation solutions and technology to automate manual processes and reduce costs.
Despite the urgency for practices to shift to better tools and workflows to achieve improved results, many are lagging behind. Nearly 40% of business owners said their companies have yet to take the first step in automation.
How can I successfully introduce proven processes, workflow automation, and software to benefit my practice and office team?
The following are six tips on how you can make impactful changes to your practice operations, get front office staff on board with those changes, and help your practice grow and outperform competitors:
1. Clarify your office’s pain points
After mapping out and evaluating current processes, it’s crucial to identify specific bottlenecks and how they’re negatively impacting the office, your staff, and your patients. Clearly communicate to management and staff what problem or issues the upgrade will solve, to what degree, and if possible, support it with data. Clearly explain how adopting better workflows and patient communications tools will minimize repetitive tasks, reduce phone calls, and manually send patient notifications via text message and email.
2. Build consensus
Create clear expectations for how the changes will impact team members individually and what types of adjustments they will need to make. Emphasize that the purpose of automating workflows and streamlining processes is to better support staff members and minimize manual workloads, not to reduce staff. Explain that the improvements will save more time, decrease staff stress levels, and boost their job satisfaction.
3. Embrace technology and healthcare automation
The most effective way to boost practice production, increase front office efficiencies, and save your staff time is with automated tools and technology. Integrated with your practice management (PM) or electronic health record (EHR), patient communications solutions streamline workflows and patient data management, reduce paperwork, greatly enhance patient-provider communication, ultimately improving patient care and patient satisfaction.
Automating routine but time-consuming manual, administrative tasks like sending out scheduling appointments, patient appointment reminders, recall notices, payment reminders, etc., frees up your staff and saves valuable time. Digital solutions reduce no-shows, increase confirmations, and help patients keep their appointments. These tools minimize manual staff workloads while allowing your admin team to book more visits and assist more patients. Patient communications software also reduces expensive paper and postage costs for mailing invoice statements.
4. Standardize workflows and processes
Establishing time-tested guidelines, standard operating procedures (SOP), and best practices for booking visits, patient intake, reminder schedules, check-ins, etc., ensures consistency, reduces errors, and boosts collaboration across your team. Standardize your processes by mapping out workflows, identifying choke points, and adopting more simplified procedures to align with standards and best practices. Patient communications technology allows you to shorten and streamline many of these workflows, while automation technology lets you eliminate time-consuming manual steps.
5. Continuously monitor and improve performance
Regularly review and measure performance to ensure the changes and upgrades you’ve made are having the desired effect. Tracking key performance indicators (KPI) and using real-time data analytics can help you identify areas for improvement, chart progress, and measure your success. Some of these KPIs might include:
- Production per visit
- Patient attrition
- Visits per year
- Collection rate
- Practice profit margin
- Productivity fill rate
6. Emphasize staff training
The greater your investment in training front office staff on new procedures and software solutions, the better equipped your team will be to increase productivity and efficiency while accomplishing more tasks in less time. Make sure to provide thorough new hire training that includes an experienced mentor so new staff members can quickly get up to speed as full contributors.
Efficiency, cost savings, and workflow optimization are critical to the success of your healthcare practice. By applying workflow best practices and adopting automated patient communications tools, you can successfully implement the changes needed to boost productivity, better utilize your admin team while minimizing manual tasks, and deliver an elevated patient experience.