Hospital workflow software is used for workflow management in hospitals to improve efficiency and achieve better resource utilization. Hospital workflows are the sequence of repeatable processes and tasks that need to be performed on a day to day basis to ensure patient safety, allow quality care to be provided to patients, and complete all necessary administrative processes.
Hospital workflows can be complex. The workflows of many different healthcare workers are connected, with many interdependencies, which makes it all too easy for inefficiencies to be introduced. Those inefficiencies can result in poor resource utilization that hampers patient flow through a hospital, causes patient safety issues, and ultimately reduces hospital profits. Hospital workflow software takes some of the complexity out of workflows, largely through the automation of administrative tasks to reduce workloads and improve productivity.
Hospital workflow software helps to improve productivity in several different ways. The software keeps regular hospital processes running smoothly across all areas of the hospital, from admin processes that need to be completed before a patient can be admitted to or discharged from a hospital, to staff management such as scheduling and handling vacation requests, updating medical records and keeping documents stored in the right place where they can be easily accessed.
There are many tasks that are critical to the efficient operation of a hospital, a great deal of which are completed manually, which is far from efficient. A considerable amount of time is ‘wasted’ on these essential tasks, which could be put to much better use, such as spending more time providing quality care to patients. Hospital workflow software helps by automating these processes to streamline workflows and ease the pressure on clinicians and other hospital staff. One of the most common complaints made by clinicians is there is simply not enough time in the day. Hospital workflow software helps to create that extra time.
Hospital workflow software improves efficiency through the automation of many different tasks throughout a hospital. When all administrative processes are streamlined, productivity is greatly improved, and operational costs are reduced. The software can help to reduce the volume of paperwork in hospitals, which is a common area where mistakes are made.
The software can be used to accelerate admissions and reduce wait times. Before a patient is admitted, several checks must be performed, and paperwork must be completed. Many of these processes can be completed through patient portals before a patient is admitted and the software can be used at check-in kiosks to reduce wait times. The software can be used to generate appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and for tracking and managing patient encounters.
The improvements in efficiency of hospital processes can significantly improve patient flow through a hospital, allowing care to be provided to more patients in less time and efficient processes translate into higher patient satisfaction scores.
Hospital workflow software is concerned with automating many tasks and reducing the admin burden on staff, but there is another important area where efficiency can be further improved and that is communication. Outside of hospitals mobile phones are used for rapid communication from any location; however, many hospitals are still using outdated communication methods such as paging and faxing.
A considerable amount of time is lost as a result of the continued reliance on pagers, faxes, and landlines in hospitals. One study suggests a typical hospital physician wastes 45 minutes a day due to inefficiency communication systems. 1 in 4 hospitals in the United States still use pagers and 90% still use faxes.
When considering using hospital workflow software to improve efficiency, also consider updating your communication system to a clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) platform. These platforms are HIPAA-compliant text messaging-based systems that are a direct replacement for pagers.
They allow messages to be instantly sent to the mobile device of any member of a care team and support two-way communication, unlike pagers. Medical images and other files can be sent directly to mobile devices, giving clinicians access to the information they need at a patient’s bedside. They can be used for rapidly communicating changes in patients’ vital signs, for quick consults, and for receiving notifications from the EHR. The platforms also link with the scheduling system, ensuring the right person can easily be contacted, such as the on-call cardiologist.
Since message threads are retained, it is easy to pass on accurate, up to date, and complete information during shift handovers; a common area where communication errors occur. The message thread about a patient can be sent to the new shift owner, helping to avoid mistakes.
Through the use of hospital workflow software and a CC&C platform, major improvements can be made to operational efficiency, patient safety can be improved, hospitals can achieve better patient outcomes and higher satisfaction scores, and more patients can be provided with care without hiring more staff, which boosts hospital profits.