A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Improve the Healthcare Employee Experience with a Patient Tracking System

Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019

Patient tracking systems are known for improving the patient experience… But did you know HealthWare’s patient tracking system, ActiveTRACK, can also improve the healthcare employee experience?

ActiveTRACK captures data in real-time. Its real-time dashboards improve the healthcare employee experience in the following ways:

Better Resource Allocation

Access to actionable, real-time data enables supervisors to proactively manage resources and staff based on actual patient flow. Workloads can be better balanced so that one group or individual is not needlessly or disproportionately overwhelmed, which can greatly reduce workplace stress.

Holds Everyone Accountable

ActiveTRACK monitors productivity, creating the opportunity to reward or recognize high achievers. It also allows managers to identify low performers and ensure that every employee pulls his/her weight.

It’s very frustrating for a team when one member brings the rest down. Without a tool like ActiveTRACK it’s hard for managers to hold everyone to the same productivity standard. With ActiveTRACK, managers can put low performers on a work improvement plan and improve team engagement.

Correctly Determines Responsibility

Management can also immediately and accurately pinpoint where any bottlenecks in patient throughput occur thanks to ActiveTRACK’s real-time data.

An acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs used ActiveTRACK for this purpose, and discovered that patient delays had been incorrectly attributed to its Registration Department. Data from ActiveTRACK revealed that patients were actually being held up in other areas. (You can read the full case study here.)

When healthcare employees are mistakenly blamed for workflow issues, they will feel irritated at best and unjustly treated at worst. A patient tracking system can bring your healthcare employees the relief and security of knowing their good work will be properly credited to them and won’t go unnoticed.

You may also be interested in: “3 Healthcare Solutions for Improving Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, & Retention

Improves Communication & Patient Visibility

In addition to real-time data, ActiveTRACK also delivers real-time communication among departments. And, patient status is visible to all departments across the enterprise. This eliminates calls between clinical areas, to greatly improve the healthcare employee experience.

A patient tracking system will improve the healthcare employee experience.

You can improve the healthcare employee experience by providing the tools and resources healthcare employees need to do their jobs well.


Annette Franz (customer experience thought leader and founder/CEO of CX Journey Inc.) says when she interviews employees, “some of the biggest pain points of their experiences are most often about their inability to do a good job”:

“At the heart of it all, employees want to do their jobs and do them well. Unfortunately, they can’t if they aren’t provided with the tools, processes, and resources needed to do that.”

ActiveTRACK is the tool healthcare employees need to do their jobs well. And when healthcare employees are happy and engaged, so are patients!

Download our Product Sheet to learn more about how ActiveTRACK can improve the healthcare employee experience at your facility.


By Stephanie Salmich

Increase patient volume with a patient tracking system.

Increase Patient Volume with a Patient Tracking System

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Increase Patient Volume with a Patient Tracking System

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019

A patient tracking system offers numerous benefits that can help you increase patient volume, serve more patients, and generate more revenue. HealthWare’s patient tracking system, ActiveTRACK, is proven to do just that.

Increase patient volume with a patient tracking system.

ActiveTRACK can increase patient volume and revenue while improving patient access to care.

 


Here are just a few ways our patient tracking system can increase patient volume:



Provides Real-Time Data

ActiveTRACK monitors patient arrival, registration, patient wait times, and clinical transitions to detect bottlenecks in real-time. This enables facilities to proactively adjust resources and staffing needs – rather than waiting until an end-of-shift report or patient complaint to react to issues that may be limiting the number of patients who can be seen.

ActiveTRACK also quickly identifies no-shows so that the facility can call these patients as soon as possible to try to get them in the same day or to reschedule.

Improves Patient Throughput

Facilities that are equipped to address bottlenecks in real-time operate more efficiently and greatly improve patient throughput.

In addition to finding bottlenecks, ActiveTRACK improves patient throughput by lowering patient wait times and registration wait times. In fact, it reduced wait times by 75% at an acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs.

Our patient tracking system also notifies porters, clinicians, and staff regarding patient status and needs and can link the valet service to the discharge process. This ensures patients are not sitting around waiting for their vehicles, but that their vehicles are waiting and ready to go as soon as they are – vastly improving the discharge process and making a bed available for another patient much sooner.

Detects Scheduling Deficiencies

An acute care facility in the Chicago Suburbs used data produced by ActiveTRACK to significantly improve scheduling in the CT Department. ActiveTRACK showed that the average exam without contrast took 7.5 minutes and the average exam with contrast took 20 minutes. Yet, when scheduling these appointments, the facility allotted 15-30 minutes per exam.

Reducing the time allocated to each exam gives the facility the opportunity to schedule and perform 2-4 more exams per day. This equates to an increase of $1.9 to 3.7 million in potential revenue per year.

For more information, you can read the full case study here.


Implementing a patient tracking system can help you increase the number of patients you are able to serve, improving patient access to care and creating more revenue opportunities.

Download our Product Sheet to learn more about how ActiveTRACK can increase patient volume at your facility.


By Stephanie Salmich

This doctor talking to his patient is taking proactive steps toward increasing preventive screenings for men!

Increasing Preventive Screenings for Men at Your Facility

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Increasing Preventive Screenings for Men at Your Facility

Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2018

Increasing preventive screenings for men at your facility can save patients’ lives.  “Movember” is the perfect time to start working toward this goal.


Consider these ideas for increasing preventive screenings for men at your facility:


Educate your patients.  Patients may be unclear on the correct or most-up-to-date recommendations for preventive screenings and may not realize when it is time for them to start discussing these topics with their doctor.  Make sure your clinicians initiate the conversation when patients reach the proper age to begin making decisions about testing in case patients forget.

Improve patient engagement with preventive health by utilizing social media in healthcare.  Share preventive health tips, educational materials, and powerful statistics demonstrating the importance of early detection of male health issues.

(Check out our previous blog for more information on male patient engagement.)

Ensure patients are aware that most health plans are required to cover the cost of many preventive screenings (when performed by an in-network provider).  Highlight the fact that most plans cannot charge a copayment or coinsurance for these services even if the patient has not met his yearly deductible yet.  Instruct patients to check with their insurance company.  Additionally, help patients find out if they qualify for financial assistance and facilitate the application process for them.

Use their time in the waiting room as an opportunity to reach your patients.  For example, print educational materials on the back of wayfinding maps.  If you use a lobby display screen or patient notification board, feature male preventive health facts periodically throughout your rotation of announcements.  Or, incorporate moustaches into the backdrop of your screen to draw more attention to Movember and male health issues.

(Read here how one acute care facility used ActiveTRACK to promote customizable messages to patients in their waiting area.)

Accommodate your patients.  Allow for evening and weekend appointments.  Besides providing interpreters and educational materials in various languages, train staff to understand how culture affects health and healthcare decisions.  Don’t let inconvenience or cultural barriers stand in the way of accessing preventive health care.

Talk to female patients about preventive screenings for men.  Women make approximately 80% of household healthcare decisions.  Since women can have such a large impact on male health, clinicians may want to bring up the topic when meeting with female patients.  This could trigger a reminder for female patients to schedule appointments for their loved ones, or simply provide them with pertinent preventive health information to pass on to the men in their lives.

Start the Movember Healthcare Challenge at your facility.  Compete against others in your industry to raise money to improve male health through the Movember Foundation.  Raise awareness by growing a (or wearing a fake) moustache!  Use the hashtag #Movember when you share the pictures on social media.

(You can also find ideas for promoting other health observances throughout the year here, and a detailed calendar of this year’s health observances and recognition days here.)

Most of the above ideas can be implemented all year long!  Increasing preventive screenings for men is an important goal to strive toward and November is a great time to start.

This doctor talking to his patient is taking proactive steps toward increasing preventive screenings for men!

Take proactive steps toward increasing preventive screenings for men!


By Stephanie Salmich

Reducing patient uncertainty: Healthcare providers connect puzzle pieces.

Reducing Patient Uncertainty: 6 Areas to Address

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Reducing Patient Uncertainty: 6 Areas to Address

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reducing patient uncertainty should be a high priority item for healthcare providers.  Feelings of uncertainty can affect the patient experience and lower patient satisfaction.

Most of us are uncomfortable with uncertainty and many visits to healthcare facilities are made with the purpose of diminishing it.  Patients seek out your facility hoping to find answers to health questions; the last thing they are looking for is even more confusion.

Reducing patient uncertainty: Healthcare providers connect puzzle pieces.

Reducing patient uncertainty can vastly improve the patient experience.

Below are 6 areas that can either increase or decrease patient uncertainty.
By reducing patient uncertainty through addressing these areas, providers can greatly improve the patient experience:

1. – Online Presence:

A strong online presence and positive online reviews can aid in reducing patient uncertainty by helping patients become more familiar with your facility and organization before they even visit.  Utilize your website and social media accounts to their full advantage.

For example, a study published in the journal Health Communication found that video biographies for primary care physicians were more effective in reducing patient uncertainty than the standard text biographies that most providers post on their websites.

2. – Wayfinding:

Navigating their way around an unfamiliar building can increase patients’ anxiety over their hospital visit.  Wayfinding solutions (such as digital signage, mobile apps that guide patients around your campus, and touchscreen kiosks that print wayfinding maps) can ensure that patients and their visitors don’t get lost, all while reducing patient uncertainty about finding their destination.

3. – The Waiting Room:

The waiting room offers numerous opportunities for reducing patient uncertainty surrounding many topics.  In the waiting room, uncertainty about wait times can be just as frustrating as the actual waiting.  Patients’ family members face uncertainty as well, about how long they’ll be waiting, about the details of a procedure, and about the outcome for their family member.

A patient tracking board and real-time text updates can be instrumental in reducing patient uncertainty and lowering waiting room anxiety for patients’ family members.  Patients can better gauge how long they’ll be waiting, and patients’ family members know their loved one’s status at each stage (e.g. “in prep,” “in surgery,” “in recovery”) of the encounter.

4. – Interoperability:

Patients should not have to face uncertainty regarding whether their doctor has all the information he/she needs to properly care for them.  Yet, only 46% of hospitals had required patient information from outside providers or sources available electronically at the point of care according to research posted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

With odds like these, patient uncertainty about transfer of medical records or if a physician’s order/referral will be received in time is warranted.  Reducing patient uncertainty can be accomplished by ensuring your facility can electronically send, receive, find, and integrate/use all necessary health information.

5. – The Discharge Process:

Researchers have created a new tool called the Uncertainty Scale to measure patient uncertainty and predict hospital readmissions.  Some of the major themes they’ve found in their work include patients’:

  • “Lack of clarity regarding self-management, such that patients are unsure how to deal with symptoms at home”
  • “Lack of self-efficacy, manifesting as patients not knowing where to go for help for certain symptoms”
  • “Lack of clarity about the decision to seek care, meaning that patients do not know which symptoms are serious enough to warrant seeing a health professional”

Improving patient education during the discharge process can help in reducing patient uncertainty about self-care, where to seek help, and when it is necessary to seek help, as well as lower readmission rates.

6. – Payments:

Patients want price transparency and as wise healthcare consumers, they have the right to be informed about the use of their healthcare dollars.  Confusion about health insurance and how much money they owe for health services, even after they’ve received a bill, is a source of patient uncertainty.  Patients may have great clinical outcomes, yet, if they are surprised when the bill is larger than expected, their satisfaction surveys will reflect low scores.

Providing estimates for out-of-pocket costs upfront, helping patients with insurance issues, preventing insurance-related errors, and helping patients identify and apply for financial assistance opportunities can all help in reducing patient uncertainty about cost.


Uncertainty is unfortunately a common experience in healthcare for those with undiagnosed conditions and symptoms for which an explanation is unclear.  The six areas outlined here are within your control; by reducing patient uncertainty in these areas, your facility can greatly improve the patient experience.


By Stephanie Salmich

Managing the flu season: Sick patients sit in the waiting room.

Managing the Flu Season and High Patient Volume

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Managing the Flu Season and High Patient Volume

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Managing the flu season has been especially difficult for hospitals this year as health systems around the country are overflowing with record numbers of flu patients, resulting in ambulance diversions and delays, bed shortages, and ERs that are operating beyond capacity.

For example, Saint Agnes Medical Center’s ER in California has been operating at 104% capacity and UCLA Medical Center’s ER, which usually treats around 140 patients/day, recently treated over 200 patients in one day.  In January Illinois had 100 more flu outbreaks than it did last year at the same time.

Here are some suggestions for managing the flu season:


Prevention

The best thing you can do in your work toward managing the flu season is to take preventive measures to reduce the number of patients the flu will bring in in the first place.  Be diligent in your efforts to educate patients about, and encourage them to receive, the flu vaccine.  Many may not realize that it’s not too late to get the flu shot for this flu season.  Provide them with the CDC’s tips for prevention and dispel any of the common flu myths they may believe.

The ModernMedicine Network outlines the importance of considering how you might compete with drug stores and retail clinics to secure your patients’ business for flu shots.  They suggest providing for walk-in vaccinations, setting up after-hours or weekend vaccination clinics, and partnering with nearby businesses to arrange flu shot clinics for their employees (which has the potential to generate new patients), among other ideas.


Preparation

Prepare for managing high patient volume, which you’re likely to see during the flu season.  Adjust your staffing needs and keep in mind that your employees may get sick, too.  A patient tracking system will help you to better allocate staff and resources and will vastly improve efficiency and patient throughput.

Other workflow automation tools will also aid you in managing high patient volume by increasing efficiency and perhaps compensating for an uptick in sick/absent employees.


Containment

Research published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that 4 in 10 healthcare professionals work while experiencing flu-like symptoms, risking the safety of the most vulnerable patients such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases.  Sick employees with a fever and respiratory symptoms should be instructed not to return to work “until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicines such as acetaminophen),” according to the CDC.

Additionally, create a designated space in the waiting room for patients with flu symptoms where they can sit without spreading the flu to other patients.  And make sure plenty of hand sanitizer, tissues, and masks are available to help contain the virus.

Managing the flu season: Sick patients sit in the waiting room.

High patient volume makes containment in the waiting area especially important to managing the flu season.

Managing the flu season is a challenge, but prevention, preparation, and containment will help you to operate efficiently while managing high patient volume and keeping your patients safe.


By Stephanie Salmich

Touchscreen kiosks are a great wayfinding solution.

Improve Hospital Navigation and the Patient Experience with a Wayfinding Solution

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Improve Hospital Navigation and the Patient Experience with a Wayfinding Solution

Posted on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Navigating their way through a large hospital building full of many different hallways and departments can add an extra layer of anxiety to an already stressful experience for patients, their families and friends.  Adding a wayfinding solution dramatically improves hospital navigation and the patient experience.

Here are three different technological wayfinding solutions hospitals are adding to their facilities:


1. Mobile Apps

Hospitals have been developing their own apps to help patients navigate through their facility. By adding this type of technology-driven wayfinding solution, visitors are easily guided to their destination and this adds to a more enjoyable hospital visit. After all, cell phones and mobile technology are constantly around us (most of the time in our hands); why not use a smartphone app to help patients direct their way through the facility? Some mobile apps even include interior maps with turn-by-turn directions to any destination on campus!

Touchscreen kiosks are a great wayfinding solution.

Wayfinding solution: ActiveTRACK Touchscreen Kiosk

2. Touchscreen Kiosks

Some hospitals have created a wayfinding solution through touchscreen kiosks installed in their lobbies for patients to check-in. These “greeter stations” provide the ability to not only check-in without the assistance of a greeter, but the patient can also scan any needed documentation (e.g. driver’s license, insurance card). Any captured documents are delivered to the registrar electronically.

Touchscreen kiosks can print physical wayfinding maps as well as registration packets for the visitor to review while he/she waits. This helps expedite the final registration step and provides patients with something to do while they are waiting, enhancing the patient experience.

3. Digital Signage

A patient notification board is a great wayfinding solution.

Wayfinding solution: ActiveTRACK Patient Notification Board

 

Having digital signs throughout a hospital is very helpful for wandering visitors. With maps and announcements being displayed, guests won’t get lost while visiting loved ones and hospital staff won’t miss important messages.

One specific type of digital signage used in some hospitals is a patient notification board. A patient notification board informs patients when to proceed to a registration booth. It provides an audible tone and/or message when a registrar is available and ready to serve them. Between these notifications, the patient notification board can be set up to display marketing and informational messages to patients while they are waiting (e.g. wellness programs, hospital services).

 


True, these current wayfinding solutions for hospital navigation cater to a younger, more tech-savvy hospital visitor, but keeping up with the current trends and technology takes a facility to the next level.  Implementing a wayfinding solution from the list above can leave an extremely impressive and lasting impression on the patient experience.


By Samantha Willis

Managing high patient volume is possible with the right healthcare technology solutions.

Managing High Patient Volume in the Month of December

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Managing High Patient Volume in the Month of December

Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2016

“It’s the most wonderful – make that, busiest – time of the year!”

Much like the holiday season, the 4th Quarter (and especially the month of December) can be a stressful time for hospitals.  By this point, many patients have met their deductibles and may have money saved in their FSAs that must be used by the end of the year.  The desire to maximize their healthcare finances, combined with the extra days off from work and school, makes this the opportune time for patients to schedule elective procedures and check off other items on their medical to-do lists.  Plus, the flu season and changing weather typically lead to an influx of sick patients as well.

Although hospitals are aware of these realities, many still feel underprepared when December strikes.  And while an increase in patients might imply an increase in revenue, hospitals still must handle the logistics of managing high patient volume while respecting their capacity limits.  When a hospital is underprepared, an overflow of patients and the disorder that comes with it can be detrimental to the patient experience, lowering patient satisfaction and even posing a risk to patient safety.

Fortunately, you can prepare your facility for the hustle and bustle of 4th Quarter.  Here are some suggestions to help you better manage the excess number of patients your facility is sure to be experiencing right now:

Implement a Patient Tracking System

You can significantly improve patient throughput with a patient tracking system.  Implementing a solution like this can make a huge impact in lowering your patient wait times, improving hospital efficiency and allowing your staff to serve more patients.

Managing high patient volume is more feasible when you have a patient tracking system in place that monitors each patient’s status in real-time and enables management to oversee throughput across multiple areas from a central location.

HealthWare’s patient tracking system can also project the level of staffing a facility may need.  Knowing these metrics can help you prevent the burnout that many doctors feel when overbooked, meaning greater employee satisfaction and less stress-induced turnover.

Managing high patient volume is possible with the right healthcare technology solutions.

Managing high patient volume is possible with the right healthcare technology solutions.

Prevent Errors with Deficiency Management Tools

Sure, more patients might mean more revenue.  But if your registrars are rushing to register patients, failing to collect all required information or recording errors that ultimately lead to reimbursement denials, how much extra revenue are you really taking in?

You can automate this process with patient registration software that monitors each registration for accuracy and enforces specific data and documentation requirements according to government and payer-specific rules.  You can further control deficiencies with a deficiency management solution that flags and routes mistakes to staff for correction before they can snowball into greater issues, rework, or payment delays and denials down the road.

Automate Workflow

In addition to those mentioned above, there are many other healthcare solutions that can help you automate the registration process and assist you in improving hospital efficiency.  For instance, an electronic forms solution can automate the selection and generation of forms for every situation, wherever a patient presents.  Forms automation can pre-populate patient demographic data on every form, so that staff members don’t have to write this information by hand.  And a physician order management system can streamline the collection of documentation electronically, allowing you to immediately review orders for accuracy and easily route documents to their appropriate departments without worrying that lost or incomplete orders will hold up patient throughput.

Many hospitals’ attempts at managing high patient volume involve scheduling extra staff to help meet the demands of this busy time of year.  Yes, you may need to adjust your scheduling during December, but you can cut down on these costs by lessening internal workloads when you automate former manual processes; for example, you can read here how one hospital used the above healthcare solutions to avoid the need to increase FTEs even while growing its surgery department by 20 percent.


The December patient upsurge is an issue your facility can expect to face this time every year.  If you haven’t yet implemented healthcare solutions for managing high patient volume, now is the time to make those changes.  Don’t wait to react until your busy season hits again next year.  Be proactive and get these systems in place as soon as possible so that they can benefit you the whole year through, and you will confidently enter the 4th Quarter in 2017 and every year thereafter.


By Stephanie Salmich