How to Use Virtual Queuing to Automate the Flow of Patient Care
The daily routine of managing patient care in a healthcare setting typically involves serving a large number of patients. Especially in a hospital environment. Patients flow in and out of a hospital, demanding the most diligent care. To provide for these patients, carefully planned processes are a must, but even the most resourceful organizations can face long and arduous wait times for patients. The fact is long wait times within multiple queues are hard on everyone. Patients enter the establishment because they’re sick, in need of tests, or simply require a routine exam and poor wait time management adds unnecessary stress to what is often already a stressful situation. Plus, the resources needed to manage queues are expensive to the organization, mainly due to valuable time and energy exerted by employees. Virtual queuing can help ease the pain of waiting. A virtual queuing system can automatically manage the logistics involved in admitting patients, transferring them between treatment areas, and discharging them at the conclusion of their visit – generally managing a number of the challenges involved in administering patient care and the unescapable waiting each step of the way. Let’s explore how to use virtual queuing to automate the flow of patient care within your organization.
STEP 1: ENABLE AUTOMATIC PATIENT ADMITTANCE
As patients enter your facility, a virtual queuing system can be used to check them in via kiosk or mobile device. Let’s use fictitious patient, Bill, as an example. With a few taps on the check-in kiosk Bill has notified the staff he has arrived and is provided with an estimated wait time. No longer will he hear, “We will be with you as soon as possible.” Instead, he is told he will be served in approximately 20 minutes. Bill knows he has time to go to the bathroom or grab a snack before seeing his doctor while not left wondering if he will be sitting in this waiting room for hours.
STEP 2: SEAMLESSLY TRANSFER PATIENTS BETWEEN TREATMENT AREAS
When Bill sees his doctor it is decided he needs bloodwork and x-rays. With virtual queuing, your staff automatically transfers Bill to bloodwork’s queue by the time he leaves the current department. At this time, Bill is notified of his new estimated wait. At bloodwork, they receive patients from many different departments. Instead of manually checking in all new patients, the virtual queue automatically puts patients into their received order and staff serves them accordingly. After bloodwork, Bill is transferred to imaging. Again, a seamless system puts him into the next queue discarding the extra steps that used to be taken as patients physically checked in with a staff member at every place of treatment.
STEP 3: DISCHARGE PATIENTS FROM ANY DEPARTMENT
Bill’s day at your facility comes to end after imaging. Staff in the department are notified that this is Bill’s final stop and have the ability to discharge him on the spot.
STEP 4: COLLECT AND ANALYZE DATA POINTS
The virtual queuing system has tracked Bill through every step of his visit. His doctor can look up what services he received while administration can discover how long it took him to get through each process. The accrued data points of all patients will provide more accurate estimated wait times within any given department. And remember: known wait times are always better than unknown wait times, no matter how long the wait. Your patients will be thankful for your transparency and ability to provide them with a more comfortable experience. With virtual queuing, your organization can not only benefit from happier patients, but an efficient facility that focuses more on specific patient needs and less on the logistics of patient flow.