The building blocks of healthcare, the foundation of how we service patients is rapidly changing. Paper medical records? Nearly a thing of the past, well except the fax.
Doctors are now using tablets to show patients their x-rays and soon referralMD to track referral sources digitally. Your physicians send digital prescriptions to local pharmacies. But consider this: as technologically advanced as your medical facility is, are you still in the dark ages in your admin department?
You’re Wasting Time You Desperately Need
If you’re using paper schedules and calendars, Word documents, and spreadsheets to manage your admin, the answer is yes. These are all antiquated time-wasters.
On a good day, you’re probably overloaded with tasks and to-dos. Between updating your accounting spreadsheet, trying to read your handwriting on your calendar, and redoing your nurse’s schedule, there’s little time to work on that wobbling pile of paperwork on your desk.
That’s where technology comes into play. There are multiple new technologies out there that can streamline your work and help you get more done. Here’s how.
1. Cloud Sharing Makes it Easier to Update Documents
If you use Microsoft Office to create and email documents to your staff, you know it can be hard to figure out which modified version is the newest one. Cloud-based word processing tools like Google Drive make it easy to share documents with your team and keep track of changes. And it’s not only accessible on your computer: anyone who needs a document can access it from any device with Internet.
You can created word processing documents, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations with cloud-based document management programs, and they’re free (Microsoft Office is not). Google notifies other users of a document whenever you leave a comment, and lets you either share the document or send it as a file to people who don’t have access to Google Drive. You can store employee paperwork, financial projections spreadsheets, invoices…whatever files you’ve got can you uploaded or created through Google Drive.
2. Project Management Software Helps You Stay Organized
If you’re constantly writing yourself Post-It notes and forgetting things you need to do, project management software can help. Online tools like Basecamp allow you to add people to a project, set milestones, tasks, and deadlines, and share files.
You could create a project for “EMR Implementation,” as an example. In the project, you can assign tasks to your staff (“Emily: find 3 EMR providers and create comparison spreadsheet”), give those tasks deadlines, and upload documents that relate (marketing materials for each of those EMR providers). Nothing slips through the cracks. Everything gets done because everyone knows what their responsibilities are.
3. Employee Scheduling Software Helps You balance Patient Needs with Nurse Skills
Paper schedules don’t make it easy to align patient needs with the skills your staff possess. With employee scheduling software like Hello Scheduling, you can create your schedules based on what your patients need. Say for example you run a home health care facility and you need a nurse who can administer a specific type of medication to a patient today. Not all your staff can do so, but by inputting your needs in the software, you can see which nurses that are on duty match those requirements.
You can also accommodate patient preferences. If one of your long-term patients loves a particular nurse, you can easily schedule that nurse to work with that patient.
4. Online Calendars Mean You Never Miss a Meeting
When you’re trying to coordinate a meeting with your staff, it’s a challenge to know who’s available when. It’s a bit like trying to corral cats. Online calendars, such as Google Calendar, help you find a time that works for everyone, since you can view availability of all your staff and invite your employees to a meeting during a time that works for everyone.
You can color code your appointments based on type. For example, staff meetings could be colored green, while any time you’re out of the office could be red. This helps you understand your schedule at a glance.
5. Accounting Software Keeps You Compliant
If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your facility’s finances, you’re wasting tons of time unnecessarily. And what happens if you get audited? Imagine the nightmare of explaining to an IRS agent how your complex homemade system works.
Accounting software like FreshBooks, on the other hand, makes it easy for you to track income and expenses, send invoices and accept payments, and process payroll. If you are unfortunate enough to be audited, you can easily create profit and loss reports or detail your expenses, and it won’t take you all day. Work smarter, not harder.
Find the Tools That Work for You
This list could go on and on, as there are an amazing number of tools that are constantly being developed to help businesses become more productive. Try out a few and see how well they fit with your business. If one brand doesn’t work for you, try another. And invest the time to really learn these tools; after all, if you simply sign up for an account and don’t learn how to use it, you’re probably missing out on a lot of features that could benefit you.
Encourage your staff to adopt them as well. For example, if you start using Google Calendar, it will help you, but it will be even more beneficial if your entire staff uses it. Consider taking a few hours for a training period so that everyone has a handle on how to use a given platform.
What Will You Do With Your Free Time?
One of the most amazing gifts that technology gives us is free time. No longer are your nurses constantly calling you to get their schedules for the week. You’re not scrolling through pages and pages of spreadsheet data to balance your business checkbook. You don’t miss deadlines.
Once you implement smarter tools, software, and apps, you have time to manage your facility, to develop a strategy for its growth. Entrepreneur expert and author Michael Gerber is famous for saying people need to work on their businesses, not in them. That applies in this case. If you’re too busy trying to keep up with the long list of tasks you have, you don’t have time to see the big picture and work to build your facility or clinic for long-term success. Eliminating much of the time you wasted on those activities can leave more time to focus on those strategic decisions.
Guest post by: Jon Byrum is the president and co-founder of Hello Scheduling, a provider of employee scheduling and time clock software for home healthcare businesses. His software helps nurses never miss a shift.
Image courtesy of: – Mashable