Making the business case for change
What is the scheduling and patient registration process like at your hospital? How many patients experience lengthy waits, lineups and interviews to transfer their personal information to a registration clerk?
If you are like most hospitals, your clerks are working as quickly as they can and are likely performing several other job functions. So what is the solution? Is hiring more staff the only solution to handle the increasing case loads?
If these questions are currently being discussed by your management team and Board, then it’s time to consider a fresh approach.
Take a step back and do a thorough review of your processes. Look for ways to engage technology to automate certain routine tasks, such as referrals from primary care physicians, patient registrations and check-ins. You will quickly discover that you can enhance the patient experience (and satisfaction), and improve working conditions while reducing the number of clerical staff required.
To make your hospital’s business case for change, start by conducting a quick review of current scheduling and registration processes (from the perspective of both patients and staff). This will help highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes and help determine the value of a more in-depth assessment.
Here are a few questions that will help kick-start your review :
- How does the hospital manage referrals?
- What is the volume of inbound fax and mail for referrals?
- How many staff are involved in referrals and scheduling?
- How is the schedule managed?
- Does every clinical area follow a different process for referral and scheduling?
- How many walk-in registrations are handled?
- What is the volume of new registrations vs repeat patients?
- How long are the line-ups to see a clerk to register?
- How long does a typical patient wait to be registered?
- What impact does registration data errors have on account collections?
- How much multitasking are front line staff expected to perform? Is it reasonable?
- How do frontline staff feel when the lineups are long?
- How soon will more staff be required to handle the increasing volume of patients?
Every hospital is unique, so this list will not touch all the areas that should be addressed in your review. But if you can answer all the questions listed above, your hospital will be off to a flying start!