Stop long waits due to invalid orders
Missing diagnoses or ICD9 codes often cause delays
Although many physician offices have converted to electronic medical records at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, VA, orders often are not completed or lack enough information to process. Members of the patient access staff then need to contact the physician offices to obtain a valid order.
"If offices are busy or are closed for lunch, patient access cannot immediately obtain necessary information. Therefore, patients must wait or be asked to come back later," says Robin Woodward, CHAM, director of patient access.
Patients sometimes are given a posting sheet, only to find the practice amended the order set without notifying patient access. Therefore, patients must come back for the additional test prior to procedures.
"We have a liaison that works with all our affiliated Medical group practices, and educates offices using examples provided to them," says Woodward. For example, some patients came in for preoperative testing but had to return for additional testing from amended orders. "Patients were upset that the information was not changed timely, as they were inconvenienced to return," says Woodward.
When patients perceive that patient access employees are unprepared and aren’t expecting them, says Woodward, this perception results in low survey scores for customer satisfaction. "Practices need to be diligent to complete the orders while patients are in the office. We have really moved away from faxing and papers," says Woodward.
Patient access leaders continue to educate all physician practices to post orders using the online scheduling portal, which requires ICD9 and diagnosis codes. "This drastically reduced our paper and fax orders," says Woodward. "A major improvement to the process is for physician offices to contact our scheduling department or use online scheduling, which requires ICD9 and diagnosis codes."
Missing orders or ICD9 codes often cause waits in laboratory and X-ray areas at Mercy Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Oshkosh, WI, says Connie Campbell, director of patient access. Depending on how busy the provider is, the patient then has to wait an additional five to 30 minutes, she says.
"To reduce the number of missing orders, we started to scan them in. We are now going to a product which converts an incoming fax to your desktop," says Campbell. "That way we will be looking online, instead of for a lost piece of paper that could be sitting on anyone’s desk."
• Connie Campbell, Director of Patient Access, Mercy Medical Center & St. Elizabeth Hospital, Oshkosh, WI. Phone: (920) 223-1874. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Robin Woodward, CHAM, Director, Patient Access, Riverside Regional Medical Center, Newport News, VA. Phone: (757) 594-4211. Fax: (757) 594-4495. Email: Robin.Woodward@rivhs.com.