Why It's Easier to Create Efficient Workflows Than You Might Think
As U.S. healthcare continues to see an increase in patient conditions such as chronic illnesses, obesity, and mental health conditions, care teams need to be more efficient than ever before. However, attempts to improve Patient Relationship Management systems often fall short, leaving more busy work for an already overtaxed health staff.
Care teams aren’t the only ones who experience the frustration associated with time-consuming software and spreadsheets. The effects, whether higher costs or fewer patients being reached are felt all the way from individual patients to program directors. But just because the problem itself is complicated doesn’t mean it requires a convoluted fix—in fact, the solution is easier than you might think.
For patients, inefficient workflow among their care team can leave them wondering whether their care team actually understands their unique health needs—or worse, if they are capable of handling them. When a patient is asked to fill out the same form multiple times or answer the same questions repeatedly, they begin to question how their personal data is being handled. This frustration could lead to vague answers that are ultimately unhelpful.
With Patient Relationship Management (PRM) software, these inefficient workflow mistakes can be avoided entirely.
Frustration on the Front Lines
In order to simplify processes and procedures, health teams frequently use tools that aren’t specifically intended for Patient Relationship Management. Often, this can mean offices are patching several nonintegrated systems together, such as CRMs and other engagement platforms.
Since these options aren’t customized specifically for healthcare relationship management, these patchwork systems end up making workflow just as complicated as manual entry. For example, when teams take notes in Google Docs or use internal files, they have to manually update other programs or spreadsheets in order to keep track of the patient’s health across systems.
With workflow software, teams can track patient interactions. However, these systems fall short when it comes to integration. For instance, a care manager may be looking at notes from a previous conversation while inadvertently missing a patient ticket that reports medical device problems.
Furthermore, systems that are not specific to healthcare do not offer complete integration capabilities, which can make it difficult for managers to keep track of what’s integrated and what’s not. This can result in missed concerns from patients, failure to follow up by email to complaints and requests, and even miscommunication between staff members.
Consider reports in the form of CSV files, as well—uploaded maybe once a month to show patient progress or status. When this data is stale and outdated, care teams can’t get a real-time, comprehensive view of their patient’s health.
Frustrations with Patient Relationship Management vary from team to team, but the core problem remains the same—inefficiency is getting in the way of patient care.
Care managers are expensive yet vital to care team efficiency. However, when their time is primarily spent on administrative tasks instead of on patient relationships, they can’t maximize their strengths. This results in more work for teams, increased costs, and fewer patients reached—all because of avoidable inefficiencies.
3 Steps to Simplify Patient Relationship Management Workflows
Care team workflows can be complicated. But in reality, the solution might be easier than it seems. Here are three steps that can help create streamlined, scalable healthcare.
Step 1: Put Information in One Place
The bottom line is that care teams that don’t have access to the necessary information won’t be able to deliver.
For example, switching between contacts shouldn’t be complicated for care managers. After all, they interact with a different set of patients each day. They need to be able to switch gears quickly (ideally, in just a few seconds) so that each patient’s needs are addressed.
A dashboard overview of each patient allows managers to do this. They can see relevant summaries of patient symptoms and be reminded about the topics of their ongoing conversations. This gives care teams an extra level of confidence when interacting with their patients and, at the same time, gives patients the high-quality engagement they deserve.
Patients will develop confidence in the level of care they are receiving. Patient Relationship Management software will allow care teams to maintain personal, meaningful contact with patients while also improving program efficiency.
Step 2: Enable Smart Automation
Because EHR systems automate practically everything and bombard clinicians with alerts and unusable data, there’s skepticism about automation in healthcare. But many of the failures in automation are tied to poor software design and an even poorer understanding of care team workflow.
With the right software design, more workflow automation will mean that fewer patients will fall through the cracks. For instance, rather than merely hoping teams follow up with their patients, program directors can track each patient interaction through the receipt of an automated message. This standardization increases the level of care and patient satisfaction.
Automation also helps teams gather more data via automated surveys to streamline reporting. This way, automation can decrease workloads while increasing valuable feedback from patients.
Step 3: Create a Consistent Level of Quality
As teams standardize their programs, not only do they increase efficiency, but they also create consistent quality. Teams can lower the likelihood of bad experiences among patients, giving them confidence and trust in each medical interaction.
On the staff side, standardization makes it easier to onboard additional care team members. This means no more SOP binders and sticky notes. New members can get up to speed with software that guides them swiftly through training and standard procedures.
This is what workflow software designed specifically for Patient Relationship Management is geared to do: speed up standardized processes so teams can monitor more patients—more efficiently and more profitably.
Ready to create efficient workflows to help your care teams spend more time with patients and less on administrative tasks? Download our workflow guide.