Greater Medical Practice Operations Through Process Standardization

Dr. Adam Tabriz

Standardizing The Clinic Workflow Process Is A Necessity But Needs A Personal Touch

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Every medical practice today in developed countries is fronting operational challenges. Some states in the United States may possess their particular challenges more than others. However, almost all suffer from sundry problems, from preparing for reimbursement models and participating in the various administrative incentive programs to dealing with rising operating costs. They also need help with selecting and implementing new Electronic Health Systems.

Medical practice operations today face increasing administrative burdens and shortfalls to keep up with efficient workflows. They need help to minimize fiscal waste using better workflow processes and reduce administrative task time on the physicians' clock.

One of the ways of containing some of the inefficiencies and redundancies is by way of process standardization. That is the institution of policies, procedures, and protocols medical staff should follow when attending to tasks and operations. Those include assignments like listening to grievances, distributing correspondences, and filing documents.

Clinical task standardization also has been the topic of various discussions. In fact, according to a study published in Health Informatics Journal since the early 2000s, medical practice and healthcare generally have experienced a considerable transition toward standardization.

Despite some success with implementing standardization, some challenges to standardizing medical procedures still need to be addressed. The latter is partly due to the need for uniform terminology and definitions medical communities use daily in hospitals and medical practices.

But, one should never limit the challenges of medical practice operations standardization to nomenclature.

That is because the applicability of standardization necessitates a certain level of uniform tasks and assignment behaviors. That is something unconventional to typical practice. In other words, before standardizing a process, we must first understand the creation steps of a particular service or product and the available and distributed technologies.

Medicine is the science of relativity, as no two clinical scenarios are alike. That by itself poses a significant challenge to standardize.
Then again, there is always a place for standardization within medical practice operations.

Indeed, every medical practice can and must find its particular operations to standardize without affecting the patients' autonomy and options. Then such regularized procedures can serve as the topic of automation.

Today medical practices can take advantage of state-of-the-art software technologies to complete those standard procedures without human intervention. That will render workflow and operations to transpire smoothly, faster, easier, and consistently.

Standardization of medical practice operations and the utility of workflow automation, even for non-clinical tasks, can become counterproductive to human staff, particularly physicians. For instance, what would be the automation of patient clinic check-in for a fifteen minutes office visit good for if the physician must, by default, talk, perform the examination, and complete all administrative work within that timeframe? — or physician spends "twenty minutes of additional unpaid time" to ensure the patient is satisfied with their care and maintains proper documentation for optimal reimbursement?

Clinical Workflow, Operation Standardization, And Personalized Medical Care

Standardization of operations and workflow automation is practical, given the incorporation of clinical decision-making and a system that amalgamates physician clinical judgment and patient partnership through transparency and collaboration. That is by ensuring that it furnishes gated standard operations by offering flexibility to physicians and patients to circumvent one-size-fits-all applications.

A personalized healthcare model can be used to standardize clinical and administrative operations. The Key to achieving that harmony and balance between custom medical care and cookie-cutter all-purpose patient care is establishing a robust logistic network. That refers to the kind of planning and execution which allows every stakeholder and medical device sensor to plug in and plug out at any time and place. The latter is the infrastructure that accommodates a joint independent collaboration between humans and sensors.

Standardization of medical practice operations needs a personal touch, continuous benchmarking, and quality assurance. It demands human intervention and computer automation as long as it balances the time, cost, and quality allocated to a single patient visit.

Technology Hits initially published this article!

References

  1. Duke Personalized Health Care. "Key Principles — Duke Personalized Health Care," April 11, 2019. https://dukepersonalizedhealth.org/personalized-health-care/key-principles/
  2. Zdravković, Milan, and Miroslav Trajanović. "On the Extended Clinical Workflows for Personalized Healthcare | SpringerLink." On the Extended Clinical Workflows for Personalized Healthcare | SpringerLink. Accessed October 16, 2022. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-36796-0_7
  3. Enhancing practice operations through process standardization. "Enhancing Practice Operations through Process Standardization." Accessed October 16, 2022. https://www.mgma.com/practice-resources/operations-management/enhancing-practice-operations-through-process-stan

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