Healthcare workflows can be complicated, making workflow management challenging. While hospitals and clinics will have policies, procedures, and workflows to ensure that all necessary activities are accomplished, and patient safety is maintained, clinical and non-clinical processes are frequently inefficient, resulting in less than ideal resource utilisation.
Hospitals and clinics cannot function at 100% efficiency due to the nature of demands placed on them, but focused healthcare workflow management can improve resource utilisation and enhance care quality by reducing the amount of time spent on administrative activities.
Healthcare workflow management is one of the many important but sometimes overlooked components of how successfully hospitals, clinics, and other medical practices meet their care, efficiency and staff well-being goals.
Importance of Healthcare Workflow Management
The move from paper files and records to electronic health record (EHR) systems has made it easier to retrieve patient information at the point of care. EHRs serve as a central repository for all patient data, ensuring that accurate and up-to-date data is always available to help clinicians and nurses make the best decisions possible.
EHRs have aided in increasing production and efficiency, but they are not a panacea. It is impossible to realise the full potential of EHRs without the presence of excellent healthcare workflow management and efficient and effective communication systems.
Using healthcare workflow management to fine-tune hospital workflows is critical for minimising redundancies that waste hospital resources, delay medical care, and limit patient throughput.
Effective workflow management has been found to lower the risk of medical errors, ensure compliance with all applicable industry laws and regulations, and raise the quality of treatment offered to patients.
If a hospital or medical practice’s workflow isn’t managed adequately, procedures and processes may continue to move forward – at least until a crisis occurs, grinding everything to a halt, lowering the quality of treatment and staff satisfaction. The step taken should usually be a post-crisis analysis of the situation, which invariably focuses on healthcare workflow management. But one thing is sure: the larger the organisation, whether it’s a specialty surgery centre, a general hospital, or a family medical practice, the more difficult it becomes to control the workflow in healthcare.
As a result, it’s time to start looking into the benefits of workflow technology in healthcare, which can immediately influence workflow efficiency while also lowering errors and improving patient outcomes. In this context, a healthcare workflow management system is one such healthcare IT solution. A well-chosen and integrated patient management system shouldn’t replace a whole hospital workflow system; instead, it should be used to improve and optimise existing workflow, communications, and teamwork.
- Workflow Software
Healthcare workflow management automates various procedures in the healthcare industry, including patient admissions, approvals, paperwork, information transmission, prescription fulfilment, revenue calculations and compliance. Healthcare workflow software improves operational efficiency, increases productivity, and eliminates as many repetitive and manual operations as possible, minimising the administrative burden and the risk of errors. The platform reduces paperwork, facilitates teamwork, enables healthcare staff to accomplish more in less time, and enhances information transmission accuracy. Overall, it improves staff morale; there are significant cost savings, faster patient throughput, fewer medical errors, and better patient experience and satisfaction scores.
- Readmissions are reduced
When workflows aren’t effectively managed, mistakes can happen, and such mistakes can have severe consequences for patients. Information transfer is one of the most common areas of failure in medical errors. Important information about a patient may not be adequately communicated during shift handovers, or crucial information about a patient may not be delivered to a physician, resulting in inaccurate treatment decisions and treatment delays. There is a higher risk of readmission when data is not appropriately delivered to patients. In healthcare, having complete, correct, and up-to-date information is crucial; hence formal information transfer methods are necessary. A good healthcare workflow management will also ensure that managers can keep track of workflow operations via dashboards and alerting systems.
- Improves healthcare communication
Information technology can significantly improve healthcare workflow management. One of the most significant innovations in healthcare in recent years is a long-awaited replacement for obsolete, inefficient, and error-prone communication systems.
In healthcare, outdated communication tools do not allow for efficient workflows. Effective management of healthcare workflows becomes difficult when current, efficient communication tools are not used.
The straightforward solution to this dilemma is to build a platform for clinical communication and collaboration. These new communication tools vastly improve the efficiency of communication. Two-way communication, text, audio, and video calls, as well as the sharing of medical images, videos and other vital files, are all supported by the platforms. They provide good communication among all care team members and can be utilised for telemedicine patient follow-ups.
These technologies are helpful in optimising information transfer during shift changes. Message threads concerning a patient can be easily moved, ensuring that future shift owners have an accurate record of information. The platforms can aid with healthcare workflow management and resource use.
All workflow participants must buy in to deliver a successful healthcare process. For your hospital or health care workflow to continue to produce excellent patient outcomes, processes must run fast and smoothly. Some hospital workflows are more challenging to complete than others. Several of these are more likely to have a negative impact on patient outcomes and safety when poorly executed. While all actions in a healthcare workflow should be tracked and measured, identifying workflow issue areas may be worth analysing further and require more regular attention. Watch for changes in policy and workflow procedures. When problems emerge, look at the workflow diagram to determine the root of the issue and learn from the situation to avoid it happening again.
Various technology alternatives are available to assist you in improving your clinical workflow operations, and more are being added daily. Clinic workflow checklists help standardise and streamline care, while task management tools help doctors keep track of workflow activities. When investing in and integrating new information technology, it’s always good to make informed decisions.
If your healthcare institution wishes to enhance patient outcomes, there may be no better place to start than your workflows. Hospital workflows that have been fine-tuned can reduce the likelihood of staff errors and oversights, eliminate unnecessary redundancies that stifle timely, efficient care delivery, improve compliance with critical safety rules and regulations, and keep patients on the most sensible and practical treatment path.