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Ways To Improve Patient Flow In A Medical Office



Running an effective and efficient medical office is ultimately the responsibility of the medical office manager. The success of the business relies heavily on the staff the manager assembles and trains. The manager will effectively distribute all the required workloads in the office while keeping the staff supervised and motivated. The manager will work hard to create an enjoyable environment for the staff and the patients, and be held fully responsible for the medical office’s financial performance.

Outsourcing Responsibilities

Part of his or her duties includes delegating jobs to make the office run smoother. While the front desk receptionist might handle all of the documentation, and check patients in and out, some of their duties may be outsourced to an answering service or medical call center. More than just offering services after hours, a medical answering service can take all incoming calls and appropriately redirect them to make the office run more smoothly during business hours.

More than just offering technical support to the medical office, a physician answering service can also provide appointment scheduling, inbound sales leads, emergency service dispatching, fulfill requests concerning products and information, and customize responses based on the doctor’s requirements.

Creating Patient Flow

The easiest way to create better patient flow is to perform a complete assessment that begins with scheduling an appointment, and how the patient is received when they arrive for their visit. Assessing how each patient checks in, how long he or she waits in the reception area, and the amount of time they must wait in the exam room for the physician are all key components to figuring out how to create a better patient flow. Additionally, by analyzing the amount of time it takes for the physician to treat the patient, along with the process for checking out, collecting a co-pay payment, and rescheduling the next appointment can maximize the efficiency of the system, keep the patient happy, while increasing the flow. Specific details of assessing patient flow should include:

  • Office Etiquette – From the moment the patient arrives until they leave, they must be treated with respect and courtesy from the receptionist to the doctor.
  • Wait Time – The length of time the patient must wait in the reception room and the exam room will have a direct effect on office productivity, and patient happiness.
  • Explanation of Treatments – Determining whether the doctor or nurse answered every question of the patient will make for better patient flow, return visits, and potential patient referrals.
  • Customer Service – Effective customer service begins with every phone call and ends with a satisfied patient. It must be excellent every step of the way.
  • Facility Maintenance – Every exam room must be cleaned and prepared for every patient. The facility should be fully maintained, up-to-date, and appear to be inviting for every visiting patient.
  • Patient Comfort – The waiting area (reception room) must be spacious, clean, safe, and filled with enough comfortable chairs to maintain the comfort level of every patient while they wait.

The easiest way to develop an efficient and effective medical office is to write out a plan of action. It will take the involvement of everyone in the front office, along with the nurses, medical assistants, and physicians. Through the implementation of effective changes, the medical office can transform into a facility that operates like a well-oiled machine. It is imperative to continually track the progress of making changes, and obtain feedback from both the staff and patients. Through continual analysis and comparison of previous results, adjustments can be made and fully utilized until the desired results are achieved.