I am finding that while I started out with the basics of the IR, chairs, charts, etc. the fine details of my work routine and even clinic lay out are constantly being tweaked. My overall goal is better service to patients.
The IR started out on a round glass table just outside my office so that I could roll my desk chair back a bit and see if someone was there. I can also hear the envelopes and schedule book pages whispering so I am alerted. Later I had a volunteer receptionist so I bought a reception desk with a matching one drawer file cabinet. I already had a chair for this desk. I put the desk in the same place as the glass table for the same reasons. When I don’t have a volunteer, this is the IR. I smile when I think of the chair occupied by one of those ppl from WCA with the hats.
I started out with paper charts. I had no problem keeping them in the office file cabinets when doing BA. Since I’ve been doing CA for nearly 3 years, charts are a problem. At first I took the really old ones home and stored them in a plastic bin in the locked garage. This reminded me of working at the U of Iowa hospital in the 70‘s where we would sometimes have to wait for charts to be retrieved “from the barn.” The next tweak was moving things around in my file drawers. I had one that was storage for various things. I rearranged my tall storage cabinet to accommodate those things. I was out of those type of solutions and also looking to cut expenses. So, I’m now computer charting.
In thinking of doing computer charting I realized I wouldn’t be able to take the “charts” to the chair side as I have done. My memory for detail isn’t the best so I was a bit leery of this. For a few days, I left the charts in my office and went empty handed to the chair. That felt very different at first. While I actually talk a little longer with the patient now, I found that I do remember and that I connect better/longer with them. A student who was observing the other day said the time with the pt was intense and short. I have a few ppl who have a list of things they are having me work on. For them, I take a small notepad to write down the 5-6 complaints, how much better they are and what they rate them on a 0-10.
I had been keeping the IR envelopes in the charts. Now, since I don’t use the paper charts, I have made some hanging files for the envelopes. I went to first and last names on the envelopes as they are in the schedule book. Patients like that better, too, as by now, there are repeats of the first and last names and sometimes they both/all come on the same day. HIPAA is about the medical information, not names.
So all of these things have allowed me to be more present, more efficient and more organized which results in better service to patients.These days, I’m always looking for ways to make things work more smoothly. It makes us all happier 🙂