Creating a Patient Process Map

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare ConsultantCreating Patient Process
Creating a patient process map is a simple, easily completed exercise that could produce meaningful updates to your practice.  A process map shows the path your patients take from initial contact with your office to final treatment and how the patients interact with you and your staff.  You will want to identify:

  • How patients learn about your services
  • How primary care physicians refer patients to your practice
  • If “hand-offs” from one staff member to another are smooth and effortless, or awkward and disconnected
  • The last interaction patients have with your practice and what impression it leaves

To begin, narrow your focus to a specific patient population – one that has a routine, predictable path, such as elective total joint replacement patients.  (More complicated paths, such as those of patients who come to your practice through the emergency room or other avenues, can be tackled after you are more familiar with this mapping process).  Even with this limited focus, you may find that a patient’s journey through your “system” has many staff touch points and divergent paths that need to be examined.  Stepping into your patients’ shoes and examining your processes from their perspectives is the first step toward having a more patient-centric experience.  Your goal is to learn:

  • Key interactions and transition points
  • Areas of duplicate or double work
  • Gaps where patients fall through the cracks
  • Other opportunities for improvement

After this exploratory exercise, the next step is to create an ideal patient process map.  What would you like this patient populations’ experience to be from this point forward?  Once you have prepared both of these maps, your next steps become clear.  Compare the maps to identify what needs to be changed in your current process to create an ideal version.

When the process is completed for your first segment of patients, it is easily repeatable for the rest of your patient populations.  Creating these maps can be a valuable exercise to launch a process-improvement project or the start of a new year.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 5:41 pm and is filed under Practice Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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