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How to schedule calls to fit your workflow

2022-02-14

You’re busy, and you always have more hours of work than there are hours in the day. While Virtual Hallway phone consults maximize time, improve patient care, and can provide significant hourly compensation, finding a way to fit consults into your workflow is an important way to create a successful phone consult service.

Every clinician has a different workflow, so taking some time to brainstorm on how it will fit with your daily operations will pay dividends later on. Here are some considerations:

When is your low value time?

Even the busiest clinicians have time through their week which is low value. This could be a Friday afternoon while doing paperwork. It could be during a mid-day drive between hospital or clinic locations. It could be in the morning before clinic starts. It could be during a lunch break. It could be during the drive to the cottage.  

The bottom line is to examine your schedule for those times where your time isn’t being well spent. That way, phone consults will add potential income to your day.

Engage your office staff

Most physicians only manage their schedules at a high level. It is their office staff who book appointments, schedule time off, and generally manage clinic operations.

Virtual Hallway has Group Practice Accounts which allow your office staff to take control of your schedule. For specialists, they can block off availability, type dictated consult reports, and transfer documents to external EMRs.

For family doctors, delegates can fill out consult request forms, book phone consults and transfer documentation to EMRs. Note, any documentation written by delegates needs to be signed off by physicians.

Engaging your office staff with delegate accounts can ensure phone consults are seamlessly integrated into your day.

Create a phone consult clinic

Canadian specialists are inundated with referrals. It’s no surprise that Canada has some of the longest wait times for specialty care in the G7. However, with phone consults, depending on speciality, a specialist can help up to seven times as many patients as they can with in person patient consults.

Some specialists have successfully created a phone consults clinic by triaging the traditional referrals they have received. Those referrals deemed appropriate for peer to peer phone consults have gone back to the referral source recommending that the family physician sent a phone consult request on the patient. The specialists then created phone consult clinics of 2 hours twice per week and made a significant improvement in their wait times.

Key Points
  • Plan ahead
  • Determine when your low value time is
  • Collaborate with your office staff
  • Offer your usual referral sources phone consults for more rapid access

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