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Tracking the Patient Journey

Creating an efficient patient flow starts with understanding their health journey

By Tinuola Adebukol
March 23, 2021
Tinuola Headshot

Doctors and patients on boardgame board

In order for healthcare stakeholders to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care, it is crucial that their patient flow is well- designed in order to increase the efficiency in patient care. A proper understanding of patients' journeys provides greater insight into patient flow.An efficient patient flow that includes collaboration and proper communication leads to higher quality of health, which is what patients really care about.According to a study byDeloitte, "understanding [patient] attitudes and preferences across the patient journey can be central to supporting healthy behaviors, achieving better health outcomes, and improving patient experience."

What is patient flow?

Patient flow is involved in the movement of patients through a medical office, hospital or health system in an easy and efficient manner. Patient flow begins during the patient's very first visit experience and encompasses every interaction and treatment a patient receives. According to a 2011 study in the journalHealth Affairs, patient-flow strategies can be used to increase revenue, decrease costs, and manage fluctuations in demand. The purpose of patient flow is to ensure that health practices are able to operate at full capacity, doctors optimize time with patients and unnecessary time-wasting procedures are decreased.

How to make patient flow more efficient

Every patient is different, which creates a complex situation for care providers. The entire care team and staff must be responsible for patient flow in order to provide a successful patient experience. Your team must determine a timeline of necessary patient actions based on the patient’s visit so you can use this timeline to plan your patient journey. Your patient’s journey must be personalized because a patient’s journey is unique to their work and life circumstances as well as their pre-existing condition or illness and other factors.

When creating your patient engagement journey ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the most relevant needs of my patient?
  • What is my patient’s communication and care preference?
  • How does my patient want to engage with me?
  • What information do I already know about my patient?

Utilizing digital tools can help you manage and automate many of these actions with various channels so you can engage your patient in their care journey. With ever-evolving tools being released frequently, they have the ability to significantly improve health outcomes. Digital patient journey trackers are able to manage real-time engagement with patients.

Important stages of patient flow

Pre-Visit: To better prepare for your patients

  • Automated reminders and notifications should be sent. The patient's feedback is essential tominimize no-showsand establish a communication network between you and the patient.
  • Make sure the patient completes an in-take form and confirm that their insurance is up-to-date.
  • Use 2-way text and email channels to communicate with your patient.

During Visit: Focus on real-time patient flow to create an all encompassing patient journey

  • Check-in: For better reception management and a more efficient patient check-in process provide check-in options to save valuable time through pre-scheduled appointment information, registration forms, surveys/questionnaires and more
  • Service: During the treatment, it is important to track and manage your patient interaction and care path. Set goals with patients to foster a collaborative patient-provider interaction and allow for a smoother continuation of care.

Post-Visit: Plan for continuation of care

  • Request patient feedback to get insights into the patient’s experience and increase patient satisfaction. The patient’s insight can be used to improve their journey mapping.

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Track your patient journey with Tellescope

Experts consistently advocate for proper patient flow as it is important to provide effective health care. Tellescope offers the flexibility to meet the changing needs of patients as they transition through their health status. Every patient has different health needs which makes it difficult to manage and prioritize care. Customized care journeys made available by Tellescope helps group your patients and allows you to understand what actions need to be done for each patient at any point in time. Tellescope is able to collect important pieces of information along the patient journey in order to provide your care team with invaluable data throughout all stages of your patients care coordination. Tellescope’s seamless virtual experience includes tools that can be easily accessed by the patient and care team. Get in touch with us to request a demo of the Tellescope platform!

Sources

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/assets/pdf/CH1176521026.PDF

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a5ed/7cc3713d8bb986a62d40c35ae8fda57f7a4c.pdf?_ga=2.265229708.263841523.1615656789-1061355922.1615656789

https://thescript.zocdoc.com/5-ways-to-improve-patient-flow-at-your-practice

https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2002/0600/p45.html

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Originally published: March 23, 2021
Last updated: March 23, 2021