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5 ways workflow automation streamlines healthcare administration

Healthcare administration is a challenge and easy to lose track of given the variety of information healthcare workers have to process every day. Streamline healthcare management and offer higher quality healthcare to patients when you implement workflow automation.

Healthcare administration, hospital management, bureaucracy… no matter what you call it, healthcare means lots of paperwork. So much paperwork, in fact, that 49% of hospital staff report feeling burnout at work. It’s easy to see why; the near-endless processes of patient data entry, billing, onboarding, and numerous other repetitive tasks gets overwhelming quickly.

Having a way of streamlining these routines is essential for improving healthcare quality and easing the burden on your employees. Workflow automation technology is the ideal solution, as it allows your team to finish now-digitized paperwork up to twice as fast, without sacrificing quality. In fact, by standardizing the way tasks are completed and forms are filled, workflow automation most likely improves the quality of healthcare management in your business.

What is workflow automation in healthcare administration?

Workflow automation just means taking a previously manual task or set of tasks and automating the process so that it’s faster, more efficient, and less stressful for employees. In a hospital context, workflow automation is applied to patient information to make processing, treatment, and billing a much more painless process.

Currently, 32% of hospital or healthcare sector employees spend 20 hours a week or more filing the kind of paperwork that should be automated. In an industry that’s already famously understaffed and in many cases underfunded, that’s too much time taken up by what boils down to data entry.

Entirely manual administration means less time spent actually treating patients, which in turn means that anything that can improve the speed of healthcare administration will also improve healthcare quality. Healthcare automation:

  • Makes data entry more accurate: Manual data entry is unfortunately frequent subject to error, which is dangerous to patient welfare as well as incredibly expensive for hospitals. By presenting standardized formats for data entry and controlling the types of responses accepted, workflow automation greatly improves data accuracy and consistency.
  • Streamlines communication: Healthcare automation platforms help you communicate more consistently with patients and other team members, for example by assigning tasks remotely or by sending appointment reminder emails to reduce no-shows.
  • Saves money: Workflow automation is generally an excellent cost-saving measure, since it helps you do more work in a much shorter time frame. Fewer errors also saves money; in healthcare specifically, data entry errors cost hospitals $40 billion annually.
  • Improves data management: Another big disadvantage of manual paperwork is that in addition to filling out thousands of copies of the same form from scratch, you need a place to put them where they won’t be lost or damaged. Using workflow automation software, you can generate additional copies of any form or bill with one click, and you don’t have to worry about losing your digital documents.
  • Helps you comply with regulations: Healthcare businesses need to follow a complex set of laws surrounding data privacy, notably HIPAA. Information processed with a workflow automation platform is more private by default, since you’re able to adjust user permissions to make sure patient data stays confidential.

All these benefits of healthcare automation improve the healthcare experience for patients just as much as for employees. Getting medical care can be stressful, and the more painless you can make hospital interactions, the more likely patients are to come back.

5 processes to automate for improved healthcare administration

A female doctor in a white coat speaking with a patient

Since almost every bureaucratic process in a hospital involves filing paperwork, there’s no shortage of ways to apply workflow automation in your healthcare business. In fact, you can automate healthcare workflows from the very beginning of patient onboarding all the way through to treatment, for a truly optimized care experience.

Appointment booking

The first step for any hospital patient is making the appointment, and it’s already a key deciding factor for many people. The more work they need to do – like calling the office or sending emails back and forth – the less likely they are to book. An automated online booking portal lets people select available times without needing any staff assistance.

It’s also useful to set up automated reminder emails once an appointment is booked and the day before said appointment. Just like with any customer, regular and relevant communication is essential to building a good relationship. Reminder emails also help patients remember their appointments.

Patient admission/discharge

When patients come in for their first appointment, they’ll always need to fill out a patient information form. As important as the information on these forms is, it’s also a lot of work to keep writing up new forms and keep track of patient records. Automate the patient sign-in process with simple digitized templates that are endlessly reusable and automatically assembled into cohesive patient records.

Healthcare automation also makes it easy to gather feedback from patients as they leave. Simple patient feedback surveys tell you which aspects of the patient experience people were happy with and which could be improved. Having a standardized format for patient feedback makes it easier to draw conclusions and establish records so you can optimize healthcare administration further.

Maintaining your premises

Considering their role, hospitals and other healthcare facilities need to be impeccably clean and free of health hazards. In many cases, acceptable hygiene standards are explicitly regulated.

Healthcare workflow automation streamlines housekeeping in two major ways. First, it makes assigning, adjusting, and otherwise communicating tasks to employees a matter of a few clicks. Second, by basing maintenance tasks on standardized templates the same as other hospital paperwork, workflow automation ensures cleaning follows defined steps and everything is covered. Connection to the cloud makes it easy to report and document any issues found during an inspection.

SOAP notes

The SOAP note is a vital part of any doctor-patient interaction. It’s a checklist that guides care providers through patient interviews in four stages, and ensures they get all the information needed to provide the best care possible. Consistently using SOAP notes to gather data, especially during repeat visits, is crucial to establishing patient records.

Generating SOAP notes with workflow automation software keeps you from having to rewrite the same document each time you process a patient and automatically records patient answers once completed. Like with healthcare facility management, automated SOAP notes streamline patient assessments and improve healthcare quality by standardizing the questions doctors and nurses ask.

You can also use SOAP notes when admitting patients to gather information in preparation for the doctor’s examination.

Onboarding hospital staff

Patients and administrative workers aren’t the only ones burdened by excessive manual paperwork. Whenever a new doctor or nurse is hired, there are countless forms to fill out before they’re cleared to begin work. In the healthcare industry, you need all the extra hands you can get, so it’s essential that onboarding be as short a process as possible.

Workflow automation software can help you orient new hires much faster, whether you’re bringing them up to speed on their role or communicating hospital policies. Remote form management means employees can submit their documentation at any point and get right to work after. Automatic digital records also reduce the number of forms your employees need to fill out in the first place.

Transform your healthcare administration with Lumiform’s workflow automation platform. Create custom forms to cover every part of a patient visit, from admission to treatment to discharge. Save your employees hundreds of hours on repetitive data entry so that they can focus on ensuring the highest quality healthcare for patients, and guarantee a personalized approach with detailed and digitized patient records.

Indian doctor recording patient observations on a laptop

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