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How to Accelerate Your Patient Visit Workflow

Abby Nieten
September 21, 2017
Min Read

Every industry—from education to healthcare—has tedious processes that could benefit from automation. This post is the third in a three-part series on accelerating workflows. The first two posts in the series covered routine processes for education and HR. Here, we’ll discuss how to improve a common healthcare process.

Visiting the doctor—whether for a routine check-up or an unexpected illness or injury—is often an anxiety-ridden endeavor. Patients typically have to take time away from work or family, share personal information, and endure physical exams that can seem a bit invasive. As a healthcare provider, you have a responsibility to give patients a positive experience that eases their anxiety. From the moment a patient first enters your facility, you should be concerned with removing unnecessary communication and treatment barriers to provide the best possible care. If you want to create a positive patient visit experience, paperless automation is a good place to start. Streamlining administrative tasks associated with a patient’s visit to your facility can make a world of difference for patient happiness and staff productivity. The entire patient visit workflow—from check-in to check-out—can be automated to remove bottlenecks and improve patient flow. How? Online workflow forms. Using a multi-step online form, you can eliminate cumbersome paper documents to simplify patient visits. Formstack’s Workflow forms allow multiple people to seamlessly participate in one process. One Workflow form can travel from patient to receptionist to medical assistant to physician, with participants viewing and completing only those portions that are relevant to them. Then, all data submitted throughout the process gets combined into a single record in the database.

Streamline Clinical Workflow

Using an automated Workflow form, your patient visit documentation could look like this:

Step 1: Patient submits online check-in form.

The process starts when a patient arrives for his/her scheduled visit and signs in via a digital check-in form. This may occur via a check-in kiosk in your office or a URL the patient can access from his/her smartphone. The form asks for basic identifying information, appointment time, and scheduled physician. When a patient submits the check-in form, he/she initiates the patient visit documentation process and kicks the clinical workflow into motion.

Step 2: Receptionist verifies patient information.

After a patient submits a check-in form, the receptionist at the facility receives an email notification letting him/her know it’s his/her turn to participate in the process. A link in the email will open the Workflow form, displaying the patient’s submitted information and highlighting the section of the form that now needs to be completed.The receptionist acknowledges receipt of the patient’s check-in information (via a Checkbox field) and verifies the patient’s appointment time and identifying information against his/her established record.The receptionist submits the necessary acknowledgement and verification and completes step 2 of the workflow.

Step 3: Medical assistant completes preliminary check-up.

Just as in step 2, the next participant receives an email notification when the form is ready for him/her. In this case, step 3 is completed by a medical assistant or nurse. The medical assistant takes the patient’s vitals, collects a urine sample (if necessary), and updates the patient’s medical history (if applicable).The medical assistant submits the necessary information and completes step 3 of the clinical workflow.

Step 4: Physician completes patient exam.

As with steps 2 and 3, the next process participant is notified via email that it’s his/her turn to complete a step in the workflow. In this case, the form travels to the physician who will be performing the full patient exam. The physician completes the exam and adds clinical notes to the form.The physician submits the exam notes and completes step 4 of the workflow.

Step 5: Receptionist discharges patient.

After the patient has been examined and released by the physician, the receptionist is notified via email that it’s once again his/her turn to complete a step in the workflow. This time, the receptionist must indicate that he/she has collected any money due. He/she must then schedule any needed follow-up visits.Once the receptionist has completed these final steps, he/she submits the form and discharges the patient to complete the workflow.

Step 6: Patient receives appointment summary and feedback form.

The final submission automatically triggers a notification email for the patient. The email can be customized to include a summary of the visit, details about scheduled follow-up appointments, and a link to a visit feedback form to gather information on the patient’s experience.The patient visit summary email closes out the clinical workflow.

Does your health facility struggle with patient flow issues? Would you like to streamline workflow processes associated with patient visits and save time and stress for all involved? Check out our Workflow Forms help doc for more detailed information on setting up a Formstack Workflow form. Or click below to read more about our Workflows add-on.


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Abby Nieten
As Senior Manager, Content Strategy, Abby leads an amazing team of marketing content creators toward a shared content vision. She's been growing with Formstack since 2015 and spent several years as a professional editor before that.
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