WBB's Thought Leadership

“Creating Efficiency in the Patient Journey”

February 26

The shift to value-based care prioritizes patient outcomes measures and emphasizes efficiency and effectiveness as measured by dimension of the patient experience. However, few healthcare organizations have sufficiently or effectively eliminated barriers to optimal patient flow and still use error-prone and inefficient paper-based systems.

WBB Take:  The shift to value-based care has an important and often overlooked implication – the change from measuring system efficiency and effectiveness in terms of physician and equipment utilization, to measuring in terms of patient experience. In fee-for-service models, the typical measure of efficiency and effectiveness is the degree to which the financial outcomes were satisfactory, and therefore the maximal utilization of the most profitable units of production – physicians, high-end scanners, high-profit tests, and drugs. In a value-based care model, the patient experience becomes the focus of measurement. Patient wait times vs equipment idle times, patient clinical dwell time vs physician billable time, etc.
As a result of the change in focus, inefficiencies in the patient journey become important measures. Those measures include how long it takes the patient to complete registration, error rates and rework time for documentation, etc. Double handling, for example, may become apparent when the patient registration process is examined – a patient often fills in the same information on paper forms, which then are captured by administrative staff. The patient often records previous history on paper forms, even if these already exist in the records, and even if they will not be used by the clinical staff.
In the process of shifting from fee-for-service to value-based care, healthcare organizations should reexamine existing processes, and eliminate unnecessary waiting, double handling, and error-prone data capture and handling methods.

Cited by Matthew Loxton

Excerpt: “The transformation to value-based care has placed tremendous focus on delivery of care as it relates to improving patient outcomes, quality, and safety. And for good reason; improved discharge protocols and transition care management can reduce costly adverse outcomes, such as 30-day readmissions and hospital-acquired infections.”
“However, few healthcare organizations have focused on creating efficiency along the patient journey. For instance, the vast majority of physician offices, urgent care clinics, and retail clinics still use cumbersome, paper-based intake methods and still primarily schedule appointments by phone. The delays and errors inherent in these legacy approaches are frustrating for both patients and staff, and they frequently result in avoidable productivity and revenue losses, as well as patient satisfaction issues.”
“Some forward-thinking convenient care and urgent care clinics, as well as healthcare systems, have taken on the challenge to improve the patient journey by implementing a variety of automated processes, including digital registration and check-in via mobile tablets and onsite computer kiosks.”
“Healthcare organizations, large and small, are already realizing tangible benefits from employing new technologies and processes to streamline patient registration and check-in for better accuracy, efficiency, and patient satisfaction.”
“By implementing digital registration and online scheduling applications, ambulatory care providers can immediately improve the patient experience and achieve a significant return on investment. This return comes both from increasing the productivity of providers and staff members and hard savings such as lower paper and ink costs. Furthermore, operational efficiencies garnered from tools such as these can enrich the quality of data collected, reduce errors by eliminating redundant processes, and improve access to healthcare, all while maximizing revenue.”

Source: Physician's Weekly



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