How Effective Patient Access Helps Overcome Staffing Challenges

2 min read

Staffing challenges at all levels, have plagued providers since long before the impact of the COVID pandemic. Next to budgetary and revenue concerns, staffing remains a top priority. However, many fail to realize how an effective patient access strategy can mitigate these challenges. By first improving operations access, organizations are better positioned to confidently navigate staffing shortages and ensure quality care for their patients. Here’s how…

Access rules patient flow, which is critical to healthcare operations. Providers can minimize wait times by efficiently managing appointments, registrations, and check-ins. They can boost patient satisfaction and optimize resource utilization by eliminating bottlenecks and reducing unnecessary staffing requirements across the board— including care. Effective patient access allows providers to accurately assess patient needs, schedule appropriate appointments, and optimize provider availability. Additionally, an optimized access experience paves the way for better utilization of resource-saving care strategies like telehealth and remote patient monitoring. The support patient access offers by serving as a centralized access hub for technology-based care enables providers to extend their reach, better utilizing lulls in scheduling and allowing closer monitoring of patient conditions that, when left unchecked, may become more difficult to treat.

Beyond the impact on patient flow, effective patient access processes help streamline the overall workflow within an organization. Optimized access means standardized protocols that reduce administrative burdens and enhance productivity. When auxiliary access tasks like registration, verification, and patient communication support are effectively managed, staff can handle other patient-related tasks more efficiently, reducing the need for additional staffing resources and empowering staff members to focus on more complex responsibilities. Optimizing resource allocation ensures that staff members are utilized efficiently, aligning staffing levels with patient demand and avoiding overstaffing or understaffing situations. Furthermore, having a dedicated access team relieves clinical and front desk staff from the burden of phones and a mountain of paperwork, supporting “top of license” resource utilization that can create flexibility when staffing challenges arise in more patient-facing or care roles. 

Finally, fully optimized patient access includes performance analysis to monitor improvement opportunities to ensure processes remain streamlined and continue delivering the maximum benefit for resource utilization. When your access processes regularly assess workflows, identify bottlenecks, and implement changes that optimize staffing requirements alongside monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as patient wait times, registration accuracy, and appointment scheduling efficiency, it provides insights for improvement and helps allocate staff resources more effectively.

The staffing challenges facing healthcare are daunting, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of effective patient access. By streamlining the gateway to care, you can enhance staff productivity and optimize resource allocation, enabling your organization to navigate staffing shortages today successfully, and in the future. With a well-executed patient access strategy, healthcare organizations can overcome staffing challenges, deliver high-quality care, and ensure positive patient experiences.

Need help optimizing your access game? We do that. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more.