How to Increase Patient Volume Without Hampering Quality of Care

How to Increase Patient Volume Without Hampering Quality of Care

For many health care providers, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to help all the patients who need assistance.

They could be wondering how to increase patient volume on a given day. Fortunately, there are ways they could boost these numbers while still providing top-notch care.

Use entry questionnaires

Increasing patient volume could begin before people even step foot in your office.

Offices could use electronic health records (EHRs) to save time and take some of the guesswork out of office visits. Using medical EHR software, your staff members could determine patients who might need new prescriptions for their glasses or contact lenses, or people who have experienced multiple flare ups of chronic diseases.

Armed with this knowledge, your staff members could send these selected patients entry questionnaires before their appointments. These questionnaires could ask them how their conditions are progressing or whether they think they’ll need new eyewear prescriptions.

When they receive answers to the patients’ questionnaires, your staff members could learn which patients may be in the market for new glasses and which ones may require more intense assistance for their conditions and thus require longer appointments.

Knowing these things could help staff members schedule appointments that are the right length, less likely to run over into other appointments, and less likely to cause delays and cancellations for others.

Customize your EHR and PM systems

Staff members can also deploy medical EHR and PM (practice management) systems in other ways.

Customize-your-EHR-and-PM-systems

The best optometry EHR systems are customizable, so if your practice has that option, consider taking it. You might want to combine your EHR and PM systems to streamline information and processes.

For example, EHR records may indicate that patients last visited your office about a year ago and are due for other appointments soon. Your practice management system could send texts or email messages to these patients that include links that let them schedule their upcoming appointments.

Once patients schedule these visits, your PM system could send text, email, or phone messages to remind them to attend.

Letting patients schedule these visits is convenient for them. It’s also convenient for staff members who have more time to see more patients and attend to the practice’s many other tasks.

Ask patients for feedback

You could also use questionnaires and practice management software for other purposes.

Collecting feedback is one such purpose. Your office could ask patients to visit a website to complete an anonymous survey. Or you could also give questionnaires after office visits or send questionnaires on postcards with prepaid postage.

Ask-patients-for-feedback

The questionnaires could ask:

  • What do you like about our practice?
  • What do you dislike about our practice?
  • What could the practice do better?
  • What suggestions do you have?

In addition, you could ask patients to rate how well your practice performs certain tasks using different measurement scales.

Asking on questionnaires means you don’t spend time answering these questions during office visits when you might not have the time or resources to do so.

Although answering may take some effort, you’ll have insights into what patients really think about you, your staff, and your practice as a whole. You could solve problems before they worsen, and you could also prevent other problems, which could save time and hassle and give you more opportunities to focus on your patients.

Cross-train your staff

By working together, you and your staff members could also make time for more patients and prevent hassle in other ways.

Cross-training is one such strategy. As its name indicates, it involves training staff members for many roles, not just the positions they were hired to cover.

Medical practices require multiple people to operate. If someone is out sick or absent for another reason, their work and responsibilities are still there, even if they aren’t.

But if practices train people how to perform their jobs and their colleagues’ jobs, they ensure that the practices are still doing all the work they need to do.

Staffing shortages could make it harder to see large numbers of patients and carry out other duties. Well-trained employees could prevent such shortages from happening.

Employ a medical scribe

Hiring additional employees (and other kinds of employees) could also boost your patient volume and keep your practice running smoothly.

Other such employees might include scribes. ScribeAmerica defines a medical scribe as a personal assistant for a health care provider, which means someone working in this role could fulfill many office duties.

Scribes work

  • Before appointments by gathering information from electronic health records (EHRs).
  • During appointments to transcribe interactions between patients and medical professionals.
  • After appointments to record information in EHR systems.

In addition, scribes might also assume other responsibilities.

When scribes gather, collect, and record data, other health care professionals don’t have to take time to do those things. They could assist multiple additional patients instead of laboring over the paperwork of the patients they just saw.

Spend time communicating during appointments

Taking the time to talk with patients could help medical professionals boost their patient volumes.

Spend-time-communicating-during-appointments

Such conversations are other things that may initially take time, but in the end, might ultimately save it.

Why? Just like patient questionnaires, conversations could help you understand how patients really interact with your practice and how they feel about it.

Talks could help you determine if something’s wrong and develop solutions before the situation worsens. They could help you build a warm relationship and sense of trust that encourages your patients to speak to you if other things go wrong.

Or, if patients mention other parts of your practice that work well for them, you could keep doing what you’ve been doing. This consistency and commitment to excellence could keep their trust and help you and your staff run your practice more smoothly.

Even while you’re trying to increase patient volume, it’s important to remember that patients aren’t numbers or cases. They’re people. Talking with people, modifying your practice’s processes, and contacting us about technology that could enhance patients’ experiences could help you see and assist as many patients as possible.

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