3 Ways to Achieve Excellent Patient Throughput

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Efficient patient through-put is an important part of any healthcare venue's success because it ultimately impacts patient satisfaction and long-term profitability. Ralph McKibbin, MD, FACP, medical director of Allegheny Regional Endoscopy Center in Altoona, Pa., and Amy Reighard, RN, MSN, CGRN, clinical director, share three ways their endoscopy center achieved great patient throughput.

1. Measure parameters affecting patient throughput. Starting from the moment a patient schedules an appointment with the physician all the way through patient discharge, Allegheny Regional Endoscopy keeps a close eye on the processes that could affect patient throughput. One way the center achieves this is by closely reading patient satisfaction surveys, which is an easy way for patients to voice their concerns about any delays or inefficiencies during their ASC visit.

"The center also monitors any complaints from physicians' offices," Dr. McKibbin says. "We often get caught on certain processes we didn't think about affecting patient throughput, whether it be the amount of time patients wait on the phone and so on."

Other parameters the center closely monitors on the day of the procedure are IV times and start times for procedures, which are all logged electronically for retrospective review.

2. Reward staff members for efficient performance. Allegheny Regional Endoscopy also uses the patient satisfaction surveys as evidence for great efficiency performed by staff members and physicians. Ms. Reighard says ASCs should avoid focusing on the negative and instead incent staff members for good behavior; such a reward system encourages other physicians and staff members to work harder toward becoming efficient as well.

"Any positive feedback we get on patient satisfaction surveys, we will copy and give personally to the physician or staff member with a note," Ms. Reighard says. "When one staff member sees another member frequently getting notes with stickers and smiley faces, they work harder to get recognized for their efficiency and attention to patients as well."

3. Lead patients to the next available physician. Patient care is unpredictable. While ASC physicians want to spend ample time with patients, they also do not want to keep other patients waiting. Dr. McKibbin says if a patient is waiting to see a physician at the center, that patient will be asked if he or she would like to see the next available physician.

"In order to see a physician in a timely manner, patients will be asked if they are comfortable with seeing another available physician," Dr. McKibbin says. "It works rather well for our center and keeps [efficiency] a live issue for the entire center."

Learn more about Allegheny Regional Endoscopy Center.

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