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Tips for Optimizing Patient Access

Optimizing patient access is essential to the financial health of an organization, including, most importantly, ensuring that gaining access is as easy as possible. However, optimizing patient access does not only improve patient experience and retention, but it also improves practice efficiency and can lead to reduced costs.

In order to provide quality care and information effectively, organization’s should strive to establish a “zero-touch” experience that allows patients to take control of their healthcare from the comfort of their own homes. Zero-touch access refers to establishing systems that allow patients to check-in, schedule, pay bills, review records, and more.

Though upfront this process can seem daunting, there are a few small steps to take initially to drive the force of change. These steps include optimizing the established scheduling template, referral strategy, and call center.

Scheduling Template

Positive patient experience is heavily dependent on timely access to services, which requires access to seamless scheduling options. To begin improving the established scheduling template, start by reviewing the template in place. Following the review, it is important to note gaps or inefficiencies and outline the necessary changes to fill those holes. Once implemented, evaluate the template for ease and accessibility. Finally remember to consult stakeholders, including patients, to receive their feedback as well.

Referral Strategy

Referrals are an important source of business that are often under-utilized. Improving referral strategies not only improves care but can also lead to increase attraction and retention. Begin by assessing the established policies and procedures to identify gaps. Then, standardize updated policies and establish governance to hold accountability. The final and most important step is to train front-office staff on the new policies.

Call Center

An organization’s call center is often the patient’s first and last interaction with the organization. If met with complications or frustration, some patients may decide to switch providers altogether. Improving a call center starts with analyzing performance data, including polling stakeholders for feedback. Then, it is important to invest in improved tools and software. As always, it is imperative that performance indicators are regularly monitored and evaluated.

In order to ensure patients receive the care they need in a timely manner, it is necessary for organization’s to analyze and improve patient access through the steps outlined above.

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