In a 2014 study conducted across mental health institutions in New Hampshire, it took an average of 26 days for a new adult patient to see a physician. Existing patients did not fare much better – taking 23 days on average – even after being inside the system.
This might be acceptable in some specialties, but not mental health.
Not only do long wait times jeopardize the health of the patient, but costs escalate quickly for health systems when medical attention is not prioritized properly.
How can technology help improve access to care?
Increasing the efficiency of scheduling follow-up care upon discharge is the first step. Without an online scheduling platform, it is difficult and time consuming for discharge coordinators to find and book appointments for providers using disparate systems.
The key is real-time integration into practice management and electronic medical record systems throughout the health system. A discharge coordinator must be able to view available inventory and select the earliest available appointment with the right provider. This eliminates the time-consuming process of calling offices separately to find an open appointment.
We need to put the best option at the discharge coordinator’s fingertips. The benefits of this approach are:
- Simplified discharge process for patient and staff
- Faster and better access to care
Like other specialties in healthcare, time is of the essence. Improving access to care reduces costs and improves outcomes.
To learn more how MyHealthDirect helps healthcare organizations eliminate unnecessary delays in care, download our free guide, Redefining Patient Access.