A modern OB/GYN practice creates efficiencies for patients and providers — a virtuous circle that improves patient outcomes and patient satisfaction while increasing clinician revenue and lowering stress levels.
Patients want their physicians to provide efficient, up-to-date systems. They want to make appointments online, pay their bills through a portal or mobile payment system, and check-in quickly to appointments. In a survey, 68% of patients said it’s frustrating to leave a phone message and wait for a call back, and 47% said they prefer email, text, or an online portal for follow-up communications. Importantly for cash flow, 59% of patients said they were more likely to pay a bill faster if given an online option.
Not surprisingly, OB/GYNs want to similarly streamline and modernize their patient workflows, including integrating their front-end and back-end systems.
For example, protocol standardization and checklist adoption are considered best practices across healthcare, but they may be more important for OB/GYN practices than other specialties. “Standardization of practice is an important goal because of the wide variation that exists in many areas of practice within obstetrics and gynecology,” writes The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. “Checklists and protocols should be incorporated into systems as a way to help practitioners provide the best evidence-based care to their patients.”
The committee urges OB/GYNs to view protocols and checklists as a guide to the management of a clinical situation or process of care that will apply to most patients, adding that clinicians should be able to explain and document why a protocol or checklist wasn’t followed.
The report authors stress that OB/GYNs must take the lead in designing and implementing protocols and checklists in their offices. “If physicians are not actively engaged in defining the process, it may be imposed on them from external sources, such as governmental organizations and health insurance companies. If externally crafted, the process and requirements may or may not be evidence-based or appropriate,” they write. “Standardization of practice to improve quality outcomes is an important tool in achieving the inspired shared vision of patients and their healthcare providers,” they conclude.
Nor do protocols have to be limited to physicians. Standardization can bring efficiencies throughout the practice. “An efficient medical practice has a protocol for everything,” says a medical-practice management expert. “The receptionist knows how to address patients over the phone, for example, and the ultrasonographer knows what information from patient procedures must be documented in the medical record.”
Of course, a practice can’t truly be modern without system integration. OB/GYNs are recognizing that when point-of-care systems communicate with back-office systems, patients receive better care, and clinicians spend less time on stressful tasks like chasing test results and imaging files. Cloud-based systems go a step further, ensuring clinicians and billers have fast, easy, secure access to patient records from anywhere with an Internet connection.
- Payerchin, Richard. “Patients Want Physicians to Have Online Presence, Communication, Billing Options.” Contemporary OB/GYN, 2 August 2022. https://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/view/best-of-practice-matters-in-2022
- “Clinical Guidelines and Standardization of Practice to Improve Outcomes.” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, October 2019. https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2019/10/clinical-guidelines-and-standardization-of-practice-to-improve-outcomes
- Brown, Karen. “5 Medical Practice Management Challenges.” GE Empowered Women’s Health, 27 October 2017. https://www.volusonclub.net/empowered-womens-health/5-medical-practice-management-challenges/