With a full roster of patients to care for and business operations to oversee, you don’t have time to waste at your physician practice. You need ways to deliver better care in more efficient ways. That may include changing how you handle diagnostic laboratory tests. Or automating how you order medical supplies.

When you can streamline daily processes like these at your practice, everyone benefits. Your day will run more smoothly, and you’ll also improve financial outcomes for your practice and clinical outcomes for your patients. Read on to discover four ways to improve operational efficiency at your physician practice.

1. Offer in-house diagnostic laboratory tests

If you currently send patients to separate sites for diagnostic laboratory tests, you may be slowing down the care process. As Patrick Bowman explains in “How Physician Office Lab Testing Enhances Chronic Care Management,” using off-site testing can disrupt the care process for several reasons. Bowman is the Director of Strategic Accounts - Lab, and has seen how using separate sites for testing can slow things down. The patient could forget to make an appointment for the test. It could take weeks to get results back from the testing site. And it might be hard to coordinate follow-up appointments with patients to go over their results.

This is why providing physician office lab testing is so beneficial. It offers:

  • A faster diagnosis
  • Increased patient engagement
  • An additional source of revenue
  • More timely medication adjustments
  • More opportunity for behavioral counseling

Overall, providing in-house lab tests allows you to deliver more continuous care. And both your practice and your patients will benefit from that consistency.

2. Optimize lab tests for your physician practice

But that’s not the whole story. To ensure everything runs smoothly, you need to plan. You need to consider which tests to offer, how the equipment will work, and which potential workflow changes you’ll need to make. In “Optimizing Physician Office Lab Performance,” Bowman elaborates on how to get more from your physician office lab testing:

  • Cater your menu of lab tests to your patient population. Offer your most frequently ordered lab tests. Draw up a business plan that projects how many tests you’ll do each month. You want to have enough to support patient needs but not so much that you lose money on supplies.
  • Test lab equipment and instruments regularly. There’s no use in offering these tests if the equipment doesn’t work. Check the equipment daily to make sure it’s working correctly. Calibrate instruments monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on the requirements.
  • Build same-day testing into your workflow. Now that you have in-house lab tests, you’ll need to rethink how you structure workflows. Create workflows that reduce the amount of time between when a patient is tested and when they get their results. Perhaps a test is ordered during one visit, and both the test and results are given during the next.

By taking these steps to optimize your physician office lab testing, your practice can run more efficiently, and patients have a better experience.

3. Automate medical supply ordering

When you’re looking for ways to make your day-to-day operations more efficient, look at the objects that make it all possible: medical supplies. How does your physician practice keep track of which supplies are running low and what you need to purchase next? At some physician practices, inventory management is a mess. It’s a clinician walking around with a pad and paper, jotting down what’s in stock. It’s a doctor reaching for that last pair of latex gloves, only to find that there aren’t extra boxes in the back.

But having a process to keep the right medical supplies in stock is important—and it’s a fine balance. Not ordering enough of the right supplies can be a patient safety issue. Ordering too much can be costly for your practice. The best way to strike that balance is by taking the guesswork out of your medical supply ordering through automation. You can automate every step of the ordering process, from assessment and procurement to receiving and reconciliation. As Jayme White explains in “Improving Medical Supply Ordering for Physician Practices,” automating your ordering processes can:

  • Eliminate supply shortages
  • Make it easier to track spending
  • Allow for product standardization, which can lower the cost per item
  • Save your clinicians time

White is the Director of Technology Sales and knows firsthand how automation can deliver these benefits. Automation makes sense from a financial perspective, but most importantly a clinical aspect. If clinicians are stuck with supply chain management, they can’t spend time with patients.

4. Take your staff off the supply chain

This brings us to our last key to efficiency: taking your staff off supply chain tasks. Once you’ve automated your supply chain processes, your clinicians won’t have to be so involved in those tasks. In “Why Better Supply Chain Management Improves Patient Care,” White discusses the many benefits of this change:

  • Improved accuracy. Clinicians are not—and shouldn’t have to be—supply chain experts. When you automate supply chain management, you get better data.
  • A better patient experience. Imagine what could change if your clinicians had a little extra time to offer each patient. When clinicians can focus 100 percent of their attention on patient care, the patient experience—and outcomes—improve.
  • Increased revenue. When your clinicians have more time to spend on patient care, you’re able to see more patients each day, which brings in more revenue.

Sometimes we’re so close to our day-to-day tasks that we don’t realize there could be more efficient ways to do them. But there are ways to make our own days run more smoothly and improve both financial and clinical outcomes. Whether it’s diagnostic laboratory tests or medical supply ordering, consider how streamlining these functions could benefit everyone involved—from your fellow clinicians to the patients who depend on you each day.

Related: Learn more about McKesson’s physician office lab supplies and services

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McKesson editorial staff is committed to sharing innovative approaches and insights so our customers can get the most out of their business solutions and identify areas for operational improvement and revenue growth.