February 16th, 2018 • workflow
Hospitals are full of paper. Paper for new patient registrations, medical prescriptions, medical reports, insurance documentation, emergency admission, sensitive patient records – there’s no end in sight.
All of this paperwork is critical to everyday hospital workflows. But paperwork is a necessary evil; it drags efficiency, leads to errors, and takes time to get things done. It’s hard to track paper trails and expensive to manage them. And in the healthcare industry, keeping these files safe and secure is mandatory for HIPAA compliance.
Healthcare Workflows: Repetitive, predictable tasks can be plotted out as a series of conditional steps. These ‘plots’ are called workflows, and hospitals have many candidates: help desk responses, staff roster management, and more.
In recent years, hospitals across the world have found a solution to their paper problems – automated workflows. The same administrative hassles that other industries face can be solved with process management tools to automate hospital workflows and make operations run smooth.
Such automation tools are inexpensive, customizable, and can be self-taught. In addition to making processes more organized and paperless, automation improves efficiency and drives innovation. Information processed through automated workflows is easy to access, index, search and retrieve.
If your hospital is yet to automate your hospital workflows, here are a few ideas to begin with.
The biggest risk that hospitals bear with the lack of automation is how vulnerable patients’ Electronic Health Records (EHR) are. There are growing cases of human errors when hospital staff enters incorrect information into EHR systems, leading to the risks of misdiagnosis and mishandling of data.
The risk is bigger if it breaches the territory of meaningful use, the minimum U.S. government standards for using EHR to exchange clinical data among healthcare providers, patients, and insurers.
There is great merit in automating a hospital workflow around EHR rather than treating it as a patient history database. For example, if your hospital automates the process across medical test labs and EHR, there’s no room for blunders. Automation software can help automatically and safely transfer test results into an EHR system over the cloud network. This helps medical practitioners understand a patient’s condition and offer accurate treatment.
Automating your help desk processes ensures that computers and other equipment run at their optimum health and won’t snag during critical emergencies. A workflow app admin can assign a ticket to the right person and send reminders to resolve any major issue in no time.
In response, the help desk can tag and prioritize tickets based on their urgency, and set notifications to alert everyone in the process. This saves you the time to resolve issues and eliminate waste by a huge margin. You can replicate the workflow for your hospital’s IT department as well.
One of the key elements of all hospital workflows is the approval step. Everything needs to be signed off on by a doctor or administrator. However, in a traditional manual and paper-based workflow, approvals can be hard to get.
With an automated workflow, approval steps are done in real time. A doctor can use a mobile app to quickly offer approvals for any request, such as a patient discharge. Automated approvals are not only easier to do, they are harder to forge and give a clear timestamped documentation.
Similarly, the admission process can be automated to make the process quicker and more reliable. The process often goes through registration, billing, and insurance routes.
Automating these processes will ensure a seamless coordination of tasks between all departments, without anyone having to leave their desk.
Managing the staff rotation and on-call roster is a pressing issue in any hospital. Hospital staff used to have to rely on painstakingly assigning shifts to the staff on paper. It was labor-intensive and had a heavy risk of duplication and errors.
With new cloud applications, there are many new tools to generate a schedule with much more accuracy and ease. However, even these reports need to be signed off on by management. By linking your scheduling software with a workflow management software, you can easily get approvals for schedules and notify staff immediately.
Getting the best talent is a challenge for every hospital. But what happens when you find the best talent, pay them well, but it takes weeks for them to get started due to an elongated and error-prone onboarding process.
Instead, create an automated system that makes sure everyone stays in the loop and your new staff only needs to fill out forms one time rather than dozens. You can plug the gaps on errors and get new hires in their roles faster than ever.
In our current automation age, relying on manually passing paper back and forth to complete processes just doesn’t make sense. Automation is a blessing for managing everyday hassles, especially in the healthcare industry. Hospitals can find a lot of relief in making sure their processes are smooth, accurate, and fast.
If you want to make your hospital more efficient and up-to-date, try process automation for your hospital workflows today. Or talk to our experts on how can you find the right solution to automate your hospital workflows.