Improving EHR workflows can offer a comprehensive range of benefits to medical practices of all sizes. Workflow improvement can be an exercise to understand bottlenecks and weaknesses in the healthcare practice that negatively impact patients, healthcare providers, or support staff. Analyzing workflows can yield many different opportunities to improve outcomes, satisfaction, or quality metrics.
Mastering clinical workflows can be a tool for "improving the overall satisfaction of providers, staff, and patients all while increasing revenue and cutting expenses of the practice," writes the American Academy of Pediatrics. Health organizations have a chance to achieve end-to-end efficiency by using NextGen EHR and TempDev to streamline their workflows.
What are Workflows?
A workflow is any related sequence of tasks accomplished by one or more team members in an organization. A workflow is any series of steps needed to accomplish something. Examples of healthcare practice workflows include, but aren't limited to:
New Patient Examination
Routine Physical Examinations
Mastering your NextGen EHR workflow is the process of redesigning and optimizing clinical processes. The first step is to map out existing clinical workflows. The next step is to visualize opportunities for improvement using manual improvements, NextGen configuration, or custom NextGen template development.
Why You Should Master Your NextGen EHR & Practice Management Workflow
Leaving your clinical workflows as-is may feel like the easiest option. Change and adopting new working patterns is rarely easy. Still, inefficient workflows can have a surprisingly significant impact on practices. Inefficient workflows can contribute to physician burnout, which is linked to medical errors, lower quality-of-patient care, and attrition risks. Issues with practice management could be costing organizations hours of avoidable rework on medical claims reimbursement.
Studies show that 49% of Physician time is spent on EHR admin and desk work instead of face-to-face patient care. Considering the average physician works 44 hours each week, that's nearly 22 hours weekly of admin time. If workflow improvements yield to just a 50% increase in physician EHR administrative tasks, your practice could achieve 25% higher doctor productivity and significantly lower burnout rates.
The Benefits of Mastering Your NextGen EHR Workflow
Combining workflow improvement activities with an integrated EHR/Practice Management Solution like NextGen Healthcare can drive end-to-end efficiencies. This can be an opportunity to create better flow through clinical care, financial management, and patient engagement processes.
Implementing new technology is the ideal time to optimize workflows. According to The Patient Safety and Quality handbook via NCBI, workflow improvement can also help practices:
Integrate new technologies or treatment methods
Provide better care coordination for chronic conditions
Create better collaboration between primary and specialty care providers
Drive better patient safety and healthcare outcomes
Establish a more patient-focused clinical experience
Here are some examples of common NextGen EPM workflow improvements:
Creating streamlined, paperless patient registration with pre-registration capabilities
Creating automated, self-serve patient scheduling with kiosks
General ledger interfaces
Automated appointment reminders
Here are some examples of common NextGen EHR workflow improvements:
Analyzing patient tracking to determine bottlenecks in your process
Defining a process for following up on orders and how to close the NextGen order loop quickly
Improving patient medical history with auto-populated health data with Instant Medical History
End-to-end workflow capabilities can significantly reduce manual work requirements for both physicians and administrative staff. NextGen EHR can also provide the opportunity for healthcare practices to adopt sophisticated features, including clinical guidelines and voice-enabled documentation. There's an opportunity to add advanced virtual scribe, team-based care coordination, and secure texting. All of these capabilities can create more options for physicians to integrate clinical care with EHR administration within the flow of work.
The Impact of EHR Workflow Redesign
On average, physicians who use NextGen Mobile spend 12 fewer hours monthly on documentation. 90% of documentation work is completed during business hours.
Having a well-defined, technology-integrated process can drive efficiency in administrative activities. It can significantly shorten the time associated with patient check-in and insurance pre-authorization, especially when patients opt-in to self-register before the appointment or use a self-serve kiosk on-site.
Workflow optimization can also drive efficiency in care encounters. One study found that surgeons spent significantly less time in the operating room with optimized workflows, and faster surgeries had no impact on quality or safety.
Physician burnout rates vary significantly depending on specialization. The 2020 Medscape report on burnout found that urologists are the most burnt-out specialization at 54%. Ophthalmologists are the least at-risk, with 30% reporting burnout. Still, with an average of 1-in-3 physicians burnt-out, there's an evident industry crisis.
The causes of physician burnout have little variation between specialties. Doctors burnout and are more likely to quit due to administrative burden and organizational culture. Workflow optimization can be a critical measure to protect clinical talent.
Every encounter matters in patient retention. A single, negative encounter due to an excessively long wait time or poor care coordination can have viral reach in 2020. One negative review on third-party review websites can damage a practice's ability to acquire new patients. Well thought out NextGen EHR and Practice Management workflows can create an efficient, personalized patient experience at scale, from scheduling to final check-out.
Higher Quality of Care
Better flow of information through the practice contributes to better quality and patient satisfaction metrics. Physicians are able to make better decisions when check-in creates a complete picture of patient health. Scheduling can accommodate patient and physician needs more accurately with easy, drag-and-drop appointment tools. Physicians can spearhead better care coordination via NextGen EHR features to generate referrals, test results, and follow-up automatically.
You can take advantage of research-backed workflows tailored to your specialty to create better patient communications and more targeted care coordination.
Adopt new models of care delivery
Creating better internal clinical workflows can introduce the ability for practices to adopt new models of care delivery for higher profit and patient satisfaction. NextGen EHR telehealth integration capabilities can allow physicians to provide remote follow-up via video chat or expand their patient load.
Master NextGen EHR with TempDev
Making the most of technology like NextGen EHR and Practice Management is more comfortable with the support of a knowledgeable consultant. Generally, the process for workflow optimization with a consultant includes:
Choosing existing workflows to analyze
Defining and documenting the workflow
Reviewing the workflow map
Identifying bottlenecks and issues in the workflow
Designing the right solution for your specific workflows
An experienced NextGen consultant can coordinate collaboration between administrative staff, leadership, and physicians to reach consensus on documented workflows and prioritize areas for improvement. A consultant with expertise in NextGen workflows, templates, and integrations can help practices optimize opportunities for productivity, revenue, and quality. Contact TempDev here or at 888.TEMP.DEV o get started improving your workflows today.
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