Are Your Clinic Processes Lean?

Over the past 15 years, the efficiency of medical clinics has seen a boost with the introduction and adoption of EMRs and complementary software. However, the flow of work from providers to administration and back can still suffer from inefficiencies and duplication. This inefficiency can also extend to the flow of information in and out of the office, affecting interactions with pharmacies, diagnostic services, and hospitals.

Causes of Clinic Inefficiency

There are several reasons why clinics might fall into an inefficient system. One common issue arises when clinics introduce an EMR without re-engineering their processes from paper-based workflows to electronic solutions. This often results in a hybrid paper/electronic system. For instance, let’s consider the handling of uninsured service payments. Surprisingly, around 80% of clinics across Canada aren’t utilizing the billing module in their EMRs as intended. Some still resort to handwriting receipts, while others type them out from a word processing program and then summarize receivables on a spreadsheet. Despite having the tools at their disposal, clinics aren’t maximizing the potential of their billing modules. Our billing specialist can help assist with any billing questions you may have. Some create invoices but fail to reconcile them or prepare accounts receivable reports, risking discrepancies and potential revenue loss.

Addressing Clinic Efficiency

Clinics often find staff following established routines simply because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” However, maintaining the status quo isn’t the best approach to running a business. Medical clinics must continually assess and enhance their processes to avoid unnecessary steps that slow down patient care. If you do not have time to assess your efficiency, Systemic Healthcare Solutions offers on-site consulting services to observe and understand medical office workflow to help eliminate non-value add activities (after your approval).

Steps Towards Efficiency

To become more efficient, clinics can start by forming a team of 2-3 administrative staff and providers involved in the process. Focus on one area at a time, such as prescription repeats or referral processing. Break down and document each step and decision made in the process, creating a simple process flow chart. This can be done using tools like PowerPoint or downloadable software designed for flow charts, or even on paper. Leave no detail undocumented.

Once all steps are outlined, it’s time to assess what can be changed, eliminated, or streamlined with technology. Ask probing questions like, “Why are we doing this?” Challenge the status quo and be open to out-of-the-box suggestions from your team. Embrace creativity in finding solutions.

Planning for a New EMR

Clinics considering a new EMR installation, it’s far easier to adjust workflow during implementation than to overhaul processes years later. Starting off with efficient and streamlined operations at the beginning can set you up for success. We offer a free Digital Needs Assessment or consultation with our Digital Health and Technology Consultant to help guide you through any challenges you may be having with your medical clinic technology.