HealthWare Systems Blog

5 Patient Tracking Myths and Misconceptions

Posted on Wed, Feb 03, 2016

When hospital CEOs rank their list of chief concernspatient tracking may not exactly get top billing. But the ability to measure patient wait times, communicate patient status and ensure smooth handoffs certainly impacts healthcare’s more overt priorities—including patient satisfaction, physician satisfaction, staff efficiency, and outshining the competition.

So why aren’t more healthcare leaders tuned into patient tracking? Why do hospital executives search for terms like “medical necessity” fifteen times more often than a term like “patient tracking”? Some may be missing the direct connection to revenue (see Misconception #1). Others see the value, but need help convincing their colleagues… Are you one of them?

1. Patient tracking is a “nice to have” management tool.

We get it. Opportunities to invest in new technology are everywhere, and your budget isn’t unlimited. In the grand scheme of things, a few staff members having to phone the Lab one, or two or three times to see if Patient Adams ever arrived isn’t going to make or break your facility, right? You’d be surprised…

Our patient tracking case study illustrates the impactful gains that can be made with an improved tool for managing patient encounters, from registration to discharge. The hospital in question cut patient wait times in half (down to three minutes or less); cut registration times by 25 percent; saved over $50K in the reallocation of FTEs; and began to observe an upward trend in patient satisfaction scores. Hospital leaders now have hard data to support predictive staffing, better employee training and other bottom-line initiatives.

2. All the big-name HIS vendors already have patient tracking modules built into their platforms.

You’re HIS platform has patient tracking covered, right? Not so fast. Although some HIS vendors give that impression, their patient tracking modules are often lacking the functionality that really matters to patient access departments, to end users and to patients themselves. It’s easy for leaders to buy into these vendor claims, especially when a hefty investment has already been made, and particularly when IT staff members are already certified in a specific technology.

The patient access directors we spoke to say there’s a lot to be gained from opening the door to a new possibility. Don’t assume your HIS is offering everything it could be until you’ve watched this video.

3. Patient tracking solutions are easy to get up and running.

That depends on your definition of easy. We frequently hear from clients whose initial plan was to manage patient tracking through their HIS. They’re understandably disappointed when implementation is quoted at six months to a year… or more. At HealthWare Systems, we’re much faster than the alternatives—including RTLS patient tracking options that require a tremendous amount of time and resources to launch. We can have ActiveTRACK fully operational, so you can be online and using the system within two months’ time.

4. Bolt-on patient tracking solutions are too generic for our facility.

At HealthWare Systems, we stand apart in our ability to configure our solutions in line with your unique care models and workflows. We can tailor ActiveTRACK to suit specific departments, care coordination efforts, even niche demographics—like tech-savvy patients.

We recently partnered with a surgical center that opens daily at five a.m., receiving an influx of patients who need to be registered and prepped within an hour. Instead of asking patients to wait in the main lobby for an available registrar, this facility wanted to flip the traditional process. They needed pre-banding at the front desk, followed by bedside registration, so that all pre-surgery activities could take place in one room. They also wanted clear displays for waiting family members to see progress—from prep, to surgery, to recovery. We were able to accommodate them with easy-to-use surgical update components that didn’t create any undue burden for charge nurses or patient access teams.

5. Adding a patient tracking tool will mean having to manually re-enter all the data from our HIS and/or scheduling system.

Not true (unless you opt for a solution that doesn’t accommodate an HL7 data feed. Surprisingly, some patient tracking solutions still don’t.) In the case of ActiveTRACK, we can interface with your HIS system and/or scheduling system, then automatically populate and organize relevant data (e.g. appointment times, lab work, etc.).

Bottom line: a solution like ActiveTRACK benefits everyone in your healthcare system—including patients, physicians, registrars, and yes, the C-suite team charged with improving profit margins. Want to see exactly how different stakeholders benefit? Don’t forget to click on this quick video!