Patient access is a complex issue that plagues provider groups of all types, many of which acknowledge opportunities for improvement but are not sure how best to address it. Patients want to access the care they need promptly, but managing patient access is more complex than provider availability alone. Throwing resources at the problem by increasing staff or providers can prove costly with minimal return on investment. It is crucial to address how a provider practice team manages touch points and schedules to coordinate service access more effectively. By engaging providers in establishing operational consistency, organizations can prioritize patient access goals and develop solutions to drive meaningful improvements for the patient, provider, and health system.
At Coker, we work with healthcare organizations to implement a variety of solutions to address patient access concerns. Many provider practices struggle with issues like no-shows or cancellations, schedule management, and slot utilization. Our approach is to implement sustainable processes that empower employees to improve the management of provider schedules and patient touch points to fill available visit slots and reduce patient wait times. Managing these initiatives is a daily grind, and it is crucial to establish a system of accountability with clear goals and metrics.
Many organizations struggle with accurately and consistently reporting service access metrics. Often, those who have the data fall short of disseminating and utilizing the information effectively to make operational decisions. Data integrity is paramount, but even with inherent challenges, the right metrics can be used directionally to paint a picture of patient access and monitor performance over time.
Our advisors utilize a data-driven approach to develop strategies and solutions that can improve patient access:
- Engage physician leaders in managing patient access consistently across the organization
- Enhance provider scheduling efficiency with consistent criteria and protocols
- Expand the use of scheduling resources/personnel to manage provider schedules
- Reduce un-booked appointment slots and gaps on provider schedules
- Establish consistent policy and process to manage practice closures
- Standardize Advanced Practice Provider (APP) utilization and protocols
- Reduce the impact of no-shows and cancellations
- Coordinate patient access goals with value-based care arrangements/strategy