Clinical workflows can be complex and stressful for busy healthcare practices and administrative staff. From playing phone tag and fielding emails to manually entering patient information into electronic health records (EHRs), there are countless examples of frustrating workflows in a healthcare setting.
In addition to being unpleasant for administrative staff, clinical workflow frustrations often lead to clinician burnout, poor patient satisfaction, and even negative health outcomes. If this sounds all too familiar—and you’re struggling with stressful clinical workflows that may hold your practice back—automation can help.
In recent years, healthcare workflow automation has introduced new, more efficient ways to deliver care and improve the patient experience. A Healthcare Financial Management Association survey revealed that 82 percent of healthcare leaders are already on their automation journey—but there’s still room for improvement.
Let’s discuss some of the different ways healthcare automation can help minimize clinical workflow frustrations.
4 Ways Automation Minimizes Clinical Workflow Frustrations
1. Streamlines and simplifies clinical workflows
First and foremost, automation can help streamline and simplify even the most complex clinical workflows. By automating complex processes, administrative staff can free themselves up to spend less time on paperwork and more time helping patients. This not only improves operational efficiency and minimizes clinician and staff burnout but also improves the patient experience.
For example, real-time self-scheduling puts appointment management in the patients’ hands, providing a flexible and efficient way to book, manage, and cancel visits at their own convenience. Additionally, appointment reminders and follow-up communications, population health initiatives, medical billing, and more can all be automated to ease clinical workflow frustrations for staff.
2. Reduces the need for inefficient, manual work
Manual and inefficient tasks often contribute to clinical workflow frustrations, making processes more complex for administrative staff. Identifying and automating these tasks helps to eliminate roadblocks in the patient experience while also significantly reducing staff workloads.
Some examples of time-intensive, manual work that is stressful and inefficient include manually entering patient intake data into your EHR, making phone calls to schedule appointments and remind patients about upcoming visits, and reaching out about unpaid medical bills to collect patient payments.
3. Improves both clinical accuracy and efficiency
Humans are just that: human. We make mistakes. That’s why automation improves both clinical accuracy and efficiency. Decreasing manual work means there’s less potential for human error, such as duplicate or incomplete patient information. This places greater emphasis on patient safety and minimizes risks while also making life easier and more organized for administrative staff.
4. Frees administrative staff up to focus on patient care
Each of these benefits ultimately frees up administrative staff and providers, allowing them to focus on offering an exceptional patient experience—without increasing manual work. Rather than spending the day buried in paperwork, staff members can ensure patients have a great care experience from initial intake to post-visit summaries and everything in between.
Why Integration and Automation Should Go Hand in Hand
While automation is clearly beneficial for healthcare practices, it’s only one piece of a larger puzzle. Integration and automation should always go hand in hand—especially in a clinical setting where inaccuracies can pose significant patient safety concerns. If systems don't interact or have a real source of truth, practices can run into issues that actually increase clinical workflow frustrations rather than alleviating them.
For example, if you correct a patient’s address in one system, it should be reflected everywhere—the EHR, practice management system, and so on. If this doesn’t happen, administrative staff can have trouble reaching patients due to inaccurate contact information. This is just one of many instances where even with automation technology, lack of integration can cause problems for practices.
That’s why seamless, direct integration of solutions is critical alongside automation, ensuring all technology is communicating and working in tandem—especially as far as EHRs are concerned. EHR integration reduces the need for manual work and further minimizes clinical workflow frustrations while also mitigating potential safety risks.
Integrated healthcare automation technology—such as InteliChart’s patient engagement platform—can help administrative staff and providers work more efficiently with less stress and manual work getting in the way. Download The Complete Guide to Simplifying Practice Workflows to learn more about the benefits of healthcare automation.