We provide great care for patients every day but no matter how great the care the process is what matters most and the process involves more than the care delivered.
Think about a patient coming into the hospital to receive an MRI. The most important aspect of the patient’s encounter is a high quality imaging study that provides information to the provider so a patient can be properly treated. The receive a high quality MRI we have to have a functional MRI scanner, a competent technologist and a competent Radiologist. We have all of those things but the process for the patient involves much more and if any part of the process doesn’t go right the patient might not get the imaging study. The process is dependent upon the team.
The process starts with an order. The order has to include an accurate diagnosis so that the proper imaging study is performed. The test has to be scheduled on a convenient day and time for the patient. The order then has to be pre-certed to be sure insurance will cover so that the patient can be informed about potential financial liability. The patient has to be registered properly in admitting. The patient has to be provided direction or escorted to the imaging department. The patient has to be screened prior to the test to be sure it’s safe. Contrast may need to be administered to make the study more accurate. The patient has to be comfortable for the exam. The report of the exam has to be done timely and provided to the referring provider so the patient can receive follow-up care. The exam has to be coded. Insurance has to be billed correctly so the patient isn’t stuck with an unexpected bill.
You get the idea. The process involves multiple steps. The objective is to have a timely and accurate imaging study but if the process fails at any point that may not happen. The provision of care or service is just a small part of the process. The process is important and whether or not your part of the process involves direct patient care your part is important. Patient care isn’t performed in a vacuum. We have responsibility for the process and each step is critical.
Together we provide great patient care, alone we fail our patients. We have to own our part of the process and make the subsequent step as easy and efficient as possible. We could skip steps of the process and speed things up but we would not get very far in doing so.