Patients are consistently trying to balance their schedules to find time to come into the clinic for appointments with providers. Due to the busy schedules, many patients become frustrated with the lack of coordinated and integrated care from many healthcare organizations. There are a few ways that we can improve patient satisfaction by simply streamlining the patient process. Using the lean model, the goal is to remove all waste, or non-value added activities from the process. From the patient perspective, this would include wait times, travel times, and delays in processing. Here are a few ways to improve patient access.

Virtual Check-in

This is a method to allow patients to check-in virtually through their phone or other device. This will allow them to be checked into the ER wait list and see the estimated wait time. One caution with this is patients that do not show up on time, causing them to miss their scheduled appointment or not showing up at all. Use clear reminders that their appointment is nearing, and even provide an automated system that will call these individuals when the estimated wait is 20 minutes or less.

One Stop Scheduling

Provide a schedule call-line that will be able to schedule all network physicians and specialties. This improves the service time by allowing any scheduler the ability to help each customer. Adding an automated system to help filter the calls from scheduling help to finding appointment times will allow operators to triage calls that require physical help.

Service Integration

Patients become tired and frustrated by waiting to see a physician, traveling to the imaging department, waiting at the imaging department, and then going back to the physician office and waiting for the results. An integrated system that will notify the imaging department of the patient, and streamline their service to allow them to quickly get back to their physician office will improve the patient satisfaction.

Using the lean model, it is important to remove waste and incorporate value added activities only. Look at one of your daily activities and define an activity that does not add value for improvement.