As of February 2015, there were 784,626 healthcare providers in United States.* That’s a lot of tongue depressors and cotton swabs – not to mention all the paperwork! From pharmaceutical inventory and lead lists, to patient records and vital signs, there’s an enormous amount of data walking through and within those doors. Healthcare providers, much like other industry operators, struggle to capture information and keep it organized. Why? Because many offices are still transitioning patient records to paperless, everyone has compliance policies to meet, and federal changes to healthcare continue to impact process after process.
Workflow solutions are becoming the saving grace of many practices and providers – relieving the dysfunction caused by data overload and unbridled processes. Though these workflow solutions vary from one provider to the next based on their unique activities, these solutions serve the same purpose across the board: to help healthcare companies intelligently store and retrieve business-relevant and care-specific data.
Here are just four of the ways workflow solutions help today’s healthcare companies store and retrieve data:
Duplicate patient records are often created when names are misspelled or the original record can’t be found. This causes unnecessary headaches when it comes time for care. Multiple unlinked accounts can also be burdensome – even affect billing – when it comes to front office staff adding insurance information or confirming HIPAA disclosure for a family of four. Process improvement solutions like electronic health records (EHRs) integrate all patient data into a single centralized platform. In contrast to paper records under lock and key, EHRs patient information can be safeguarded with strict privacy controls. Additionally, when global changes (like adding a new insurance carrier) need to be made to several different accounts, electronic records allow quick retrieval of all connected accounts. Staff can populate linked records with an updated address or carrier contact number by making physically making the change to just one. Not only does the process save time, but also decreases opportunities for error.
2. Patient Care
Coordinating care processes between attending doctors, nurses and staff is critical both to the patient in front of them and to the ones waiting in queue. Electronic charting allows nurses to access important information quickly, i.e. what medicines were last given or updates from physicians. Instructions from physicians are more easily read online than traditionally handwritten orders, making for faster care response time and reduced risk of mistake. Improved processes aren’t limited to single pieces of software. In fact, entire process improvement platforms exist to coordinate process flow from patient admission to release.
The importance of adhering to HIPPA guidelines outlining patient privacy has added an additional layer of paperwork to each health-related visit. Today some providers are opting instead to leverage process management applications that allow patients to acknowledge HIPAA electronically. This software also triggers automatic acknowledgement renewal notifications per HIPAA guidelines, improving health provider compliance and limiting the risk of default. Another industry compliance concern is the federal government’s recently instituted Meaningful Use policy, which requires medical devices and products used during a patient procedure to be cataloged using Unique Device Identifiers (UDIs). This compliance-related urgency represents another age of health provider migration towards process improvement technology like data capture applications.
The use of technology to facilitate both patient and provider education has significantly reduced costs associated with long-held educational standards like holding onsite training for a new medical device or purchasing continuing education curricula. Healthcare Learning Management Systems (LMS) are both automating and streamlining continuing medical education (CME) by transitioning traditional in-person teaching methods to self-service training models, thus reducing cost and reducing compliance risk. Providers leveraging technology-driven, often automated education processes are also improving quality of care. How? Automated best practices alerts, for example, remind nurses when to turn patients to prevent bedsores. Other automated alerts include prompting staff when its time for pain reassessment or providing vaccine reminders to new parents prior to discharge.
Regardless of whether healthcare providers are experiencing big data overload or a rushing to meet new compliance measures, automated workflow solutions for data storage and retrieval represent the industry’s best medicine for finding relief.
Find out how DocuPhase can help you create efficiencies in your healthcare-related processes. Schedule a free process automation consultation.