How to Develop an Effective Patient Tracking System

Having a patient tracking system in place helps you ensure that every patient receives the care they need. With it, you can reduce the risk of delivering substandard care, losing valuable revenue opportunities, or incurring unnecessary expenses. 

Traditional paper or dry-erase board-based patient tracking systems can no longer keep up with the growing needs and expectations of modern patients. Ineffective patient tracking can cause delays in delivering patient reports and treatments.

But with the right tools and a sound strategy in place, you can successfully implement a patient tracking system that will enable you to maximize patient retention and minimize errors.

Key Takeaways

  • Patient tracking systems are an essential tool to efficiently run any healthcare business.
  • You should develop a patient tracking system that helps improve your workflow and efficiency.
  • There is a range of solutions to suit every business, from a small family practice to a growing hospital enterprise. Each option has benefits and shortcomings depending on your needs. 

What Does a Patient Tracking System Do?

A patient tracking system is a system used by healthcare providers to track the progress of their patients. It typically consists of a database and a series of software applications that are used to record and analyze information about patients, such as their demographic data, the services they’ve received, and their current status. It can also provide a mechanism for healthcare providers to communicate with their patients, such as sending appointment reminders and messages about test results.

A patient tracking system:

    • Identifies patients
    • Stores patients’ demographic information
    • Tracks the progress of patients’ treatment 
  • Generates reports and data

In the video below, Laurette Salzman talks about some additional considerations for patient tracking in light of the Covid-19 pandemic:

The Benefits of an Effective Patient Tracking System

Patient tracking systems ensure that your staff is providing the best care to the right patients at the right time. They also help you identify areas for improvement and generate reports that can be used to make decisions about patient care.

The benefits of an effective patient tracking system include:

  • Improved workflow
  • Reduction in errors
  • Increased efficiency
  • Centralized information
  • Optimized communication
  • Effective allocation of resources

How to Create the Best Patient Tracking System for Your Practice

You have a range of options when implementing a patient tracking system. While the simplest patient tracking solutions are text-based, more complex and sophisticated systems can make use of wearable devices and biometrics. The best solution for you will depend on the size and needs of your practice.

Building a Simple Spreadsheet

Price: Low or none

Complexity: Simple

Practice Size: Only suitable for a small practice with few patients

One of the most basic ways to implement a patient tracking system is to use a simple spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is a great way for a small practice to start because it’s quick and simple to set up, easy to use, and can be adapted as your practice needs change. You can use any spreadsheet program to create your system, as long as you can add the columns and rows that you need. This means it can often be created for free using software you already have, such as Microsoft Excel.

All you need to start using a spreadsheet as a patient tracking system is a list of the patients in your practice. Then, you’ll need to add columns to the spreadsheet to keep track of the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Doctor’s name
  • Treatment date(s) and attendance
  • Treatment plan
  • Prescription / report

Free templates are available online to help you get your patient tracking spreadsheet started.

A simple patient tracker spreadsheet template
Source httpswwwjotformcomtable templatesdemopatient sign in sheet

The drawback to this simple method is that managing your caseload can quickly become challenging, and your system will not effectively scale with you as your practice grows. HIPAA compliance can also be an issue, and you will need to manually extract data for any analysis you want to do. This can make spreadsheets an unviable option for growing healthcare businesses.

Using Existing Patient Tracking Software

Price: Moderate

Complexity: Sophisticated

Practice Size: Can handle a growing practice with unlimited patients

For many practices, existing patient tracking software options offer an affordable and robust option. These systems go beyond the simple storage of patient data achieved by a spreadsheet and offer a wider range of streamlined features to help you optimize and personalize the patient journey. These features can include:

  • Sign-in systems
  • Online check-in
  • Virtual waiting rooms
  • Scheduling, or integration with existing scheduling systems
  • Patient engagement
  • Text messaging and appointment reminders
  • Feedback surveys
  • Online review management
  • HIPAA-compliant cloud data storage

When choosing patient tracking software, you should first assess your current workflow, needs, and any issues or pain points that you’d like the new system to address. This will help you select the system that best meets the needs of your staff and patients.

Commissioning a Custom-Built Patient Tracking System

Price: High

Complexity: Highly customizable

Practice Size: ideal for large hospital complexes and other institutions with many patients across several locations

Large practices with unique or complex patient tracking needs should consider partnering with a solutions expert, like Wellbe, to have an enterprise system custom-built to meet their requirements. While the cost of creating and maintaining a custom-built system can be significantly higher than other options, it offers the opportunity to design software that will integrate with your practice’s existing systems and provide precisely what your clinicians need to optimize your services. This can pay dividends in the long run since your bespoke system will be more resource- and staff- efficient, as well as able to adapt and grow with your organization.

More complex and customized systems can make use of RFID and IoT
Source httpswwwscnsoftcomblogrfid and iot in a smart hospital benefits and challenges of smart patient tracking

Find the Best Patient Tracking System for Your Growing Practice

The solutions specialists at Wellbe can help you determine the patient tracking system that will scale with your growing practice. We believe in connecting healthcare providers and patients using seamless, personalized care automation to deliver an exceptional patient experience.

Find out how Wellbe can tip the scales in your favor.