Thursday, July 21, 2016
Healthcare is an industry driven by processes. There are processes for patient care such as diagnoses and treatment. Then there are processes on the administrative and management side of the industry in areas such as hospital management or clinical research, as well as legal and regulatory processes that must be followed too. What most of these processes have in common is that they are nearly always being done inefficiently. Healthcare has historically been one of the slowest industries to automate and digitize, but luckily some proactive healthcare organizations are starting to realize the potential for improvements to their existing systems.
A key way through which these innovative organizations have started to realize improvements is through the use of Business Process Management (BPM) principles and adoption of BPM solutions. In using BPM, healthcare organizations are able to document and manage every step of patient care more efficiently. This is done through setting up workflows of the various processes that must be completed in the course of caring for a patient. Some of these processes are necessary for regulatory compliance reasons, and many are administrative. While the processes are important and necessary, they end up taking time and resources away from the most important job of anyone working in healthcare, which is to actually care for the patient.
Healthcare professionals should be able to focus solely on the patient sitting in front of them and not have to waste their time digging through huge patient files, navigating through legacy databases, or dealing with administrative tasks such as scheduling. Using BPM to make all of these processes more efficient allows the healthcare professional to spend more time helping their patients. This leads to increased quality of care as well as decreased costs through elimination of inefficiencies.
Currently, most hospitals and healthcare practices rely on multiple different software and manual systems to perform even basic processes. It isn’t unusual to find healthcare organizations that have multiple systems in place just for the process of checking patients in. Then there are separate systems for scheduling, billing, diagnoses, filling prescriptions, tracking patient progress, etc. The myriad of different systems makes a visit to the doctor less personalized. Doctors are forced to focus too much attention on administrative tasks and regulatory issues, which takes away from their ability to provide the best possible care to their patients.
Healthcare organizations that have implemented BPM solutions are able to more easily recognize areas for process improvements and increased efficiency. For example, they might notice that lengthy patient intake procedures are creating a bottleneck in the workflow which could be mitigated by asking patients to complete intake forms online ahead of time or through reallocating staffing. Not only would a process improvement like that save money for the organization, but it would also lead to increased customer satisfaction as patients wouldn’t have to wait as long to see their provider. BPM makes it possible to notice these types of inefficiencies that otherwise might be overlooked, leading to increased value for the healthcare organization.
Author bio: Jensen Carlylse is a tech writer and blogger with a particular interest in Business Process Management systems, including Lean BPM and enterprise task management tools such as JobTraQ, Wrike, Appian, IBM BlueWorks and so on.