The Office Workflow You Wish Your Practice Had

Every practice works differently and requires a workflow that is unique to their patients' needs. A workflow that's effective for one practice may not apply to your practice because of your patient personas, organizational structure, or location.

However, there are a few important features that every standard workflow should have to make every patient visit run smoothly and efficiently. Today, we share the 3 parts of the workflow every practice wishes they had.

Optical_practice_claims_reports-1.png3 Things Your Office Workflow Should Accomplish

Most practices should wish for a workflow that:

  • Allows teams to communicate with each other through the patient record
  • Allows your practice to communicate with your patient
  • Gets patients through their visit in under 45 minutes

Communication Among Teams

Good communication throughout the workflow is very important in making sure that your patients don’t repeat the same information multiple times, and ensuring that the right information gets passed along quickly. A good practice management and EHR system can help you keep track of everything. These are some examples of how it can help in the different stages of the workflow:

  • Front desk to technician: If your practice is utilizing a patient portal, the front desk simply needs to make sure that all pre-exam forms are filled out at the time of check-in, so the technician can review and import patient information into the EHR and note chief complaints and concerns before the exam.
  • Technician to doctor: All preliminary information should already populate in the EHR so the doctor can quickly proceed to conducting the exam.
  • Doctor to optician: If the doctor has a lens prescription recommendation for the patient, it’s easy to carry the prescription information over to the optician through the practice management and EHR system. Instead of manually entering the prescription, the information should be auto-populated for the optician in the Rx order form.
  • Doctor/Optician to biller: Information from the EHR and invoices from the optician should be easily transferred with the right codes when creating a claim so the biller has all the information to ensure that the claim is clean and ready for submission.

Patient Engagement

There are two ways that patients can get more involved in managing their health, and help your workflow move faster.

  • Patient Portal: We briefly mentioned this earlier, but for those who aren’t familiar with a patient portal, it’s a secure way for your patients to manage their healthcare. It also facilitates communication between you and your patients. At minimum, you can provide patients with forms to fill out prior to coming to their appointment, but the real benefits come in when your portal allows you to create online forms for the patients to complete and then populate that data into your system.

  • Patient Education: When your patient leaves, do they have clear instructions from the doctor about treatment plans and future visits, or do they call the office when they’re home to ask questions? Your patient flow should end when the patient leaves the practice. To prevent these call backs and wasting time going back and forth between various staff members to get answers about a patient's condition, utilize patient education if it’s available in your practice management and EHR system. Send them educational materials such as videos and instructions straight from the EHR to the patient portal so they can review what you've talked about after their visit.

Quick Patient Flow

If your current patient flow time is longer than 45 minutes, it might be time to improve. For a full break down on how to improve each section of your workflow, download our eBook, Optimizing Your Workflow with Optometry Software.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on November 23, 2015. It has been updated for relevance and richness of content on February 25, 2019.
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