If you are working in management or administration in healthcare, then you may understand how chaotic it can get sometimes.
Appointments get canceled, staff resign, and budgets get cut. All of these elements can throw the best plans awry.
Patients not showing is one of the biggest problems in clinics today. No matter how organized its activities are, a clinic seemingly has little control over no-shows.
The NCBI reported on a study about no-shows. This study indicated that around 31.1% of all scheduled appointments at a large family practice ended in a no-show
This equates to somewhere over $150 billion that is lost to the healthcare industry every year. This then rolls on to affect investment in new technology, staff salaries, and training. Ultimately it will affect the quality of treatment that patients receive.
How can this particular issue, and others be addressed to help keep a clinic organized and running smoothly?
Tips for improving the daily activities of a clinic, and keeping it more organized
Below are eight different tips to consider for a happier workplace, and a more organized clinic.
Some are directly related to the organization in the clinic, while others will help things run smoothly indirectly.
1Improve time management
The no-shows and failure to cancel appointments affect time management for healthcare professionals in all fields. Be it dental practices or family planning. Failure to turn up for an appointment is frustrating and costly.
Also, poor organization could see fewer patients being treated than is possible. A scheduling system for patients can help in this regard.
Employing medical appointment scheduling software means that patients can go online to see where their doctor is free. They can then book, and if necessary, reschedule later on.
This means that it is clear when a patient needs to attend, and it also makes the canceling process simpler to lower no-shows.
2Make payments simpler
Depending on what type of clinic you are running, you could take payments online.
For instance, a patient books their appointment through your scheduling software and then attends your clinic.
Once they have checked in at reception, they could be asked to make the payment through the same application before they receive their treatment.
3Incentivize your staff
While this might not make your clinic directly more organized, it will lead to happier staff.
Paying good salaries will mean attracting better employees. This should in theory lead to more professionalism and more organization.
Adding incentives linked to targets could help also.
4Operate a calendar
Maintaining a to-do list can help you keep on top of important areas. This way reporting or training schedules won’t be missed.
Note when targets need to be reached, or when equipment needs to be reviewed or purchased.
5Organize medical equipment
Use a simple guide to make organizing medical equipment simple. Label everything, and use software to track your inventory.
This will help you to manage your purchasing budgets as well.
6Manage the budget effectively
Set up a budget for each area, and manage it effectively. Knowing how much you have for your clinic’s operations will help to keep you organized, as will setting budget targets.
7Schedule staff effectively and listen to them
It isn’t just patients that can use scheduling software. It can also be used to allocate shifts.
However, it is important not to handle staff as commodities but more as assets. Listen to them, and consider how to schedule them effectively.
The NCBI reports that 53% of clinicians and staff report burnout. This inevitably leads to turnover of staff. Replacing and training staff disrupts the workflow.
Schedule staff carefully, and manage burnout to retain staff.
8Confirm appointments and send reminders
It may not be enough just to allow patients to book online. Sending reminders can also help with reducing no-shows.
Some scheduling software also has the feature to send an SMS reminder to a patient before their appointment. This could be coupled with a message to ask the patient to reconfirm their appointment before the day.
Failure to reconfirm within 48 hours of the appointment means the slot can be freed up and offered to other individuals. This simple tactic will free up space and save cash.
9Review work practices
Although your clinic has been operating a particular way for years, doesn’t necessarily mean it has been effective.
Try to study each area for weaknesses and problems. Are there delays in calls being answered at reception? Is there enough staff in the evening? Where are the bottlenecks with patients being seen?
Understanding a medical practices’ organizational structure can be immensely helpful when looking to improve workflow.
Using scheduling software is perhaps one of the better ways to improve organization in a clinic.
It can cut down on the number of calls and emails that need to be answered. It can be used to schedule both staff and patients’ appointments.
These platforms can send out reminder SMS, and also take payments.
Keep a calendar, schedule events, and review work practices.
Keeping the best staff employed is also highly important though. Without these people, it doesn’t matter how organized your clinic might be.