The daily juggling act of administering care, supervising staff, and overseeing operational needs can be challenging even under the best circumstances. A few small changes can help your practice run more smoothly (and save your sanity at the same time).
Consider implementing the following suggestions from Anne K. Glover, MD, the practice medical director for Duke Primary Care Brier Creek. These simple tips can help manage disruptions, improve the patient experience, and streamline your schedule—all of which mean smoother sailing for everyone involved.
Organize a Daily Huddle
Meet with the entire practice for a few minutes at the start of each day. Review the daily schedule, basic operations information, and any staffing changes. Glover says that her team’s daily huddle is “very helpful in identifying problems before the day starts.”
For instance, take this time to assess which tests or vaccines are due for each patient. When caring for children, Glover’s team prints out the North Carolina vaccine registry before each patient’s visit to make sure they have the necessary vaccines in stock.
Set Up Standing Orders for Diagnostic Tests
When patients present with common acute complaints, assign clinical staff to obtain their medical history and conduct and process a diagnostic test before a doctor meets with the patient. The most common conditions that Glover sees are sore throat, painful urination, and possible pregnancy, so her clinic has standing orders for strep-throat swabs, urinalyses, and pregnancy tests.
Establish In-Room Scheduling
At the end of a patient visit, have a nurse meet with the patient in the examination room to schedule a follow-up visit. Afterward, the patient can simply walk out the door without stopping at the front desk. This process frees up front-office staff and reduces wait times at the check-in/check-out station.
Institute Direct Scheduling With Specialists
For hospital-based practices, explore the feasibility of implementing a direct-scheduling system with specialists from your hospital system. As part of a new program, Glover and her team can make patient referral appointments with specialists at Duke’s orthopaedic clinic. Glover says that directly scheduling appointments with another clinic makes life easier for all parties.