Pre-visit planning is the preparation the team of the healthcare facility does for patient appointments. At the end of a current visit, patients are scheduled for follow-up appointments. Their pre-lab testing and other necessary diagnostic tests are arranged according to the doctor’s feedback. The staff also collects any additional information for upcoming visits. These steps are taken to ensure the patient that their medical provider wants to optimize their time on the next visit, save money and enhance their experience of receiving care.
Pre-visit planning can easily be the core difference between a provider whose staff is overwhelmed and frustrated with work, and where things are running smoothly with little to no unanticipated situations occurring.
If you are a healthcare provider, pre-visit planning is essential for your practice to grow and remain consistent with quality service. Here are 8 steps that will contribute to your success.
Table of Contents
Visit Planner Checklist
A team member or a medical assistant can use a visit planner checklist. This would allow the doctor to see when the follow-up visit should be booked along with any other tests or appointments required before they met with the patient. Checklists are quick to use, utilizing a couple of seconds of the physician. This way appointments can be planned ahead of time, and the calendar can be made accordingly.
After a current appointment, practices can book follow-ups with the patient. They may also schedule any testing required before that follow-up. This would save time immensely, and plan schedules more effectively.
Schedule Tests before the Next Appointment
It would be ideal if a team member of your healthcare facility would schedule and pre-visit labs or other diagnostic tests requested for the patient’s next visit. Instant scheduling would ensure the patient has gotten a slot and there is no delay. If the requested tests do not take place before the follow-up visit, that particular appointment becomes irrelevant.
Your team can either order those tests for the patient or direct them with instructions as to how to schedule one for themselves. Some practices require the patients to come in for tests a few days prior to the visit with their physician. Whereas other practices cater to same-day tests which take place right before they visit their doctor. Regardless of what approach you take, tests need to be planned beforehand.
Checklist for Pre-Visit Tasks
A medical assistant or nurse can visit preparation any time before the appointment with the patient.
- They need to review the information on the physician’s notes. If any record, test, or information is missing, they need to reach out to the respective department and complete all data.
- Ensure all tests are taken care of before the next appointment. If anything remains missing, they can send out reminders.
- Ensure there are no gaps in care and everything is in order.
Most practices or Outsourced Medical Billing can send out automated emails, text messages, or phone calls to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. This reduces the no-show rate and would greatly help your revenue as well.
For patients who would require complex or extensive care; a medical assistant or team member would personally reach out to them by phone; to organize medical reconciliation and discuss the next appointment. Some providers would send out an email with a questionnaire and the filled form is used for the patient’s next visit.
A short pre-clinic huddle allows the team members to share their agendas, and review the upcoming day ahead of them. This allows the staff to be on the same page; announce any changes in the schedule, introduce new staffing or discuss particular patients.
During this short meeting, the team members can also inform the doctor in charge of any new findings or development in a patient’s results that have been conducted. This interaction provides an opportunity for the physician and staff to consult with each other and carry on with the day as a team.
Questionnaire for Patient Updates
You may provide a questionnaire to the patient through email, or when they arrive at the check-in, right before their appointment. The information gathered through this form will help the doctor to have a quick review of the patient’s condition and feedback before the consultancy. This also allows them a few minutes to do their homework and prepare for anything alarming.
Handoff of the Patient
The medical assistant or the nurse in charge will often come across relevant or new information regarding the patient during the process of rooming. A short 1-minute handoff to the doctor will assist them to focus on the needs of the patient. This will also reflect positively on your practice as the patients would know they’re in expert hands.
These strategies and planning could assist you in enhancing your pre-visit planning approach. Your practice can immensely benefit from good communication within your team, optimized scheduling tactics, and efficiency during appointments. Your healthcare facility would climb the ladder of success when your team is detail-oriented. With pre-visit planning, you’ll achieve just that.