5 Ways to Improve Workflow Efficiency in Your Hospital
Hospitals only help people if they run like a well-oiled machine. Outdated information, errors, and poor communication can result in serious consequences, including loss of money and sometimes lives.. Here are 5 ways to improve workflow efficiency in your hospital and why it’s important.
Get the Right Electronic Record
Almost every hospital has ditched paper charts for electronic records, but it is important to make sure your hospital is taking advantage of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and not Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). An EMR is only helpful during the patient’s stay. The information, while comprehensive, does not travel to outside care clinics like nursing homes, health screening companies, or behavioral healthcare facilities.
For a full picture of the patients coming into and out of the hospital, EHRs are more effective. These records bring a patient’s entire healthcare team to one central digital location. This saves doctors from trying to find relevant medical consultation reports and treatment history, and gives assurance that the professionals following up with patients are up to date on their care.
Streamline the Check In Process
Say goodbye to long lines in your emergency room. Touchscreen check-in kiosks are making their way into hospitals all across the country. These user-friendly systems allow patients to check themselves in, pay copays, and confirm insurance information, with privacy and convenience. Kiosks also allow patients to check the accuracy of all their information (and correct any errors) before ever meeting with a physician. Less time dealing with demographic issues in the exam room equals more time for care.
Reduce Test Error
According to Data Ray Inc. approximately 68% of laboratory errors happen during the collection process. These errors primarily occur due to mislabeled test tubes and incorrect patient information. Best case scenario, recollection of a blood specimen is necessary (like in simple cholesterol testing or vitamin D testing). But in worst-case scenarios, potentially life-saving treatment might be delayed or hard to obtain samples like cerebral spinal fluid could become unacceptable.
There are many ways to cut down on lab errors. Portable barcode scanners are a popular option (although they are not always perfect). However, simple precautions like avoiding too many patient samples in one area and allowing the patient to verify their information on the test tube can also drastically cut the rate of error. When it comes to laboratory testing, the best way to improve efficiency is to always double-check the tests needed, the collection procedure and all patient demographic information before the sample is even obtained.
Rely on Your Pharmacists
Some hospitals are beginning to take advantage of a “transitions-of-care” program to reduce their rate of readmission. In this model, pharmacists themselves educate patients on their medications prior to checking out and follow up with them after their discharge. This process ensures the patient is taking their medication as prescribed and gives pharmacists an opportunity to discuss any concerns or unusual side effects. Many potential readmissions are caught through this improved method of communication, and the experts are already on staff.
Although going “green” is costly for a hospital, sustainability will save money in the long-run. Some ideas to go green include high-efficiency appliances, eco-friendly waste disposal, and locally grown, organic produce for kitchens. Although there is an initial investment, you might someday be able to allocate those funds to other workforce benefits like training or employee health and wellness programs. The fewer resources that go to waste, the more efficient your hospital will be overall.
Workflow efficiency in a hospital is vital for employee wellbeing and patient safety. Any process that does not run well can potentially put employees, the hospital, and patients at risk. Advancements in medicine and treatment happen every day. Do not let your hospital fall behind the better, faster, and more efficient methods of modern healthcare.