Medical practices are made up of more than just doctors. Operating a practice requires a variety of skills and knowledge. When a patient needs to see a doctor, they don’t simply show up at their door. Instead, their visit goes through an initial scheduling, a call, a visit, and a post-visit record. This process isn’t always effective, but it can be.
The question is how to find areas for improvement in your medical practice. One easy solution is to start utilizing health data visualization. These visual analytics can help you understand how each area of your practice can be improved, how it performs over time, and what areas are causing your efficiency to suffer. More importantly, you can implement data visualizations across your entire practice to gain a better grasp of every step of your patients’ visit.
Before the Visit – Scheduling
A patient’s visit begins well before they set foot in a medical practice. When there are multiple doctors and staff working, one of the biggest challenges involves scheduling. For medical professionals, scheduling takes on an added dimension because of specialization and specific patients’ needs. This can create bottlenecks when not enough doctors or other personnel are available at specific times, or the wrong doctors are slated to work.
Including staff management analytics in your healthcare data visualizations can deliver a variety of improvements. For one, it shows which doctors can see more patients and those that may require more time per patient. Staff management visualizations can also help improve scheduling by showing which doctors are best suited to which patients. Finally, analysis can help reduce bottlenecks by demonstrating the best combinations and practices for both scheduling patients and set doctors’ time slots.
Collecting Patient Data – The Appointment
Once their appointment has been scheduled, patients finally arrive at the practice and immediately start providing data. This includes demographic information such as age, gender, weight, as well as basic medical details. When they finally see a doctor, the data continues to flow at an even greater rate. Handwritten notes and Excel are useful for recording information, but often can’t provide the specific insights more advanced healthcare data analytics can deliver.
Visualizing patient data can give you a clearer picture of their health profile and show you better courses of action. Implementing a risk dashboard can advance patient management by plotting out improvements or changes in health and how risk factors evolve over time. Additionally, using a baseline visualization can help you compare patients by specific factors—age, weight, pre-existing conditions, and more—to their ideal health profile.
Finishing the Visit – Payment
Paying for medical treatments or even visits can be a complex process. Dealing with insurers, completing claims, and working directly with patients involves several layers of decisions and intensive back-and-forth conversations. For many medical practices, payments can become problematic when there is no straightforward way to track them. Moreover, medical practices need a better way to inform their patients of their expected costs and processes.
Using insurance claims visualizations at this stage offers two major benefits. The first is helping medical practices be better informed about the rate of claims, which patients may have problems making payments, and which are likely to be delayed. The second is closely tied to the first and helps medical practices work more closely with their patients to find treatment options and plans that echo their circumstances.
Post-Visit – Referrals and Follow-Up
A patient’s healthcare doesn’t end when they walk out of a medical practice’s door. A treatment cycle usually involves some follow-up—how treatments are working, how a patient is feeling—and in some cases referral for further treatment. Follow-ups can easily slip through, and patients can be left on an island. One of the best dashboard examples is the use of referral dashboards to track patient follow-ups and how they were referred.
In an industry where referrals are increasingly important for bottom lines and growth, being able to visualize how effective your practice has been is crucial for success. Applying visualizations can help you track better KPIs such as the number of referrals per MD, number of referrals over time, and even the number of referrals per procedure category. Combining this with follow-ups can help practices find novel ways to refer patients for better outcomes.
Visualizations don’t have to focus on a whole practice at once. By creating dashboards and visualizations for each stage of a patient’s medical visit, medical professionals can improve their services, deliver improved patient outcomes, and remain profitable. Using visualizations can also produce better insights about each patient and help create a patient-centric approach that deprioritizes profits without hurting your bottom line.