In a nation where so many citizens remain uninsured, public health agencies provide a critical societal safety net. Unfortunately, they aren’t always granted the resources necessary for doing so.
While the collection and analysis of public health data relies heavily on technology, the important “boots-on-the-ground” work of our public health clinics too often is done without the support of techniques and technologies other industries take for granted.
Techniques for cultivating high levels of organizational efficiency and quality have been part of the business world for decades. One family practice doctor believes it’s time to apply this approach to the delivery of care, and most of her tips for doing so are also applicable to public health clinics.
Writing in Family Practice Management magazine, Deanne Willis, MD explains how she identified key activities in her practice and assessed the efficiency of each to identify procedural bottlenecks and waste.
She challenged the value of each step by posing a series of questions around value, results, availability, adaptability and ability to meet demand for each action in her practice’s key processes and workflows.
Public Health is Best Served by Efficient Clinics
Whether it’s a family practice or community health clinic, mapping key processes to find and then resolve waste can yield dramatic time savings. Facilitating those efficiencies is important to the public health mission.
When nurses are stretched thin because they need so much time to complete inefficient processes which are separate from patient care, the resulting stress and time crunch can mean they are unable to respond sufficiently to patient concerns, educate them or help them understand the important role they play in the health of their community.
Vaccination workflows in public health clinics are one area that could benefit from more scrutiny around efficiency.
Documentation of immunization is especially time-intensive: Linking up with registries, maintaining inventory information, tracking for VFC compliance, and ensuring correct coding for reimbursement are a few of the documentation steps required with each vaccination.
In most clinics, staff spend much more time on these steps than they do caring for the patient.
Vaccinating More Patients in Less Time
Fortunately, efficiencies around documentation can be significantly improved with the support of technology and automation.
Clinics can dramatically reduce documentation inefficiencies like coding errors, logging into registries, moving in and out of multiple software programs to ensure all necessary information is captured.
Automation of key steps ensures staff have enough time for logging and tracking but also for the important functions of care and education.
For example, public health clinics working with ezEMRx significantly reduce documentation time, typically by about 80%.
This is possible because the software automatically links up to all registries, maintains clinic inventory information, enables automatic printouts of VIS information, streamlines more accurate SOAP note entries, among many other efficiencies.
Clinics that can streamline documentation free up time for not just better care, but also create efficiencies that allow more patients to be vaccinated in less time, improving the clinic’s financial resources for expanding their mission.
Click here to learn more about how ezEMRx can serve your clinic.