Working Smarter with Healthcare Workflow Management Technology

Healthcare Workflow Management

Improving Hospital Workflow Management Can Increase Both Employee and Patient Satisfaction for Bariatric and Orthopedic Surgery

Healthcare workflow management is among the many crucial but occasionally overlooked aspects of how well hospitals, clinics and other medical practices achieve their objectives—whether with regard to financial performance or patient satisfaction. This is particularly true for orthopedic surgery and bariatric surgery centers, which both have unique and complex sets of activities that occur before, during and after a successful procedure.

When healthcare workflow isn’t being managed well, procedures and processes in a hospital or medical practice may keep moving forward—at least until a crisis happens that can bring things to a standstill, which lowers quality of care along with patient and employee satisfaction. What often happens next is a post-crisis examination of the problem, which almost always puts the spotlight on healthcare workflow management.

But no matter if it’s a specialized surgery center, a general hospital or a family medicine practice, one thing is certain: the larger the organization, the more challenging it is to control workflow in healthcare.

For instance, at a small medical practice, a desk clerk about to take a lunch break can ask a nurse to handle the outgoing mail, with no need for special training, authorization or protocols. But as that same small medical practice eventually grows larger and its healthcare workflow becomes more complex, informal and unsophisticated solutions may no longer be an option.

Thus enters the need to start examining the advantages of workflow technology in healthcare—which not only can immediately impact workflow efficiency, but also the concomitant benefit of reducing errors and improving patient outcomes as a result. One such healthcare IT solution in this context is a patient management system.

A carefully selected and integrated patient management system generally shouldn’t need to replace an entire existing hospital workflow system, but instead, it should enhance and optimize existing workflow, communications and teamwork. This may include a host of daily responsibilities that can quickly cripple an inefficient and unprepared medical practice’s resources that include:

• Handling patient inquiries and reminders

• Scheduling appointments

• Verifying insurance

When a viable patient management system is in place to optimize healthcare workflow in an orthopedic or bariatric surgery practice, personnel can better focus on patient care.

Reducing Risk with Hospital Workflow Management

In as much that a carefully designed hospital workflow management system can improve healthcare operational efficiency, it can also reduce risks that are detrimental to patient outcomes. One example is information transfer, one of several crucial but avoidable errors the National Center for Biochemical Information (NCBI) identified in its report, Organizational Workflow and Its Impact on Work Quality.

When hospitals use both paper and electronic records, information can become inefficient, redundant and untrustworthy. Matters can become even more troublesome when information is shared via telephone, text, whiteboards or other verbal orders that are not properly and electronically documented.

A prime example of how using a dual information system can create significant problems is with patient readmissions that might have been unnecessary. Inefficient, unmanaged or simply sloppy patient information practices are a key reason why patients often need to be readmitted. However, patient management platform tools that integrate messaging and IVR surveys can streamline transition of care management and other issues before they escalate to a need for readmission.

As with virtually any other type of business, the investment to source and install technologies for “invisible” problems like workflow management don’t often immediately demonstrate their ROI because a key function is to minimize risk. However, the inability to have solid healthcare workflow management systems in place will often demonstrate their value after a catastrophe occurs. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this couldn’t be a more appropriate sentiment for a discussion about healthcare workflow management technologies.

Sequence Health is a cloud-based technology and services company that improves profitability and patient outcomes for hospitals and practices through end-to-end patient engagement solutions backed by clinical and non-clinical teams. Its HIPAA-compliant, SaaS platform improves care team workflows, automates patient communication and tracks patient progress to optimize the patient journey. Since 2004, leading healthcare providers have trusted Sequence Health to help acquire, manage and engage patients through complex episodes of care.