Health System Optimizes Staffing Levels & Increases Patient Satisfaction with Q-Flow
Servicing residents in over 20 countries, the flow of patients and staff through Wake Forest Baptist Health’s almost 200 buildings can be overwhelming. To provide the best care to patients while keeping staff productivity and morale high, the medical center needed a patient flow solution that could keep up the pace, all day, every day.
Wake Forest Baptist opted for ACF Technologies’ Q-Flow queue management system. Close collaboration with the center’s IT staff, stellar client service, and a short learning curve ensured smooth implementations, allowing patients and staff to experience the benefits of the Q-Flow system as soon as possible.
Wait Times and Long Lines
The traditional patient check-in process wasn’t working for the clinics of Wake Forest Baptist Health. “There were long lines, and lots of stress on the front desk staff,” says Jacob Grant, a senior planner who has overseen over 30 Q-Flow implementations. “The wait times were definitely a pain point.”
Those long lines were also a pain for patients—literally. Many of the clinics treat patients with limited mobility that makes standing for long periods of time difficult. Plus, patients were often intimidated by the long lines and the chaos in the lobby, recalls Suzanne Coetzer, a senior clinical project manager with the system’s Information Technology Services (ITS).
Checking in is unavoidable, but the health system was seeking a better process. Their search ended with ACF Technologies’ Q-Flow system.
As Simple as It Gets
Downtime, delays, and lengthy staff training sessions often seem par for the course with software implementations. Grant and Coetzer were relieved to find out that wasn’t the case with Q-Flow. “I’m always impressed at the depth and breadth of knowledge of the implementation staff,” says Coetzer. They are so easy to work with, so responsive, and so knowledgeable.”
Q-Flow’s simplicity assures that essential staff won’t be waylaid with hours of training. “It takes staff 10 -20 minutes, if that, to get up to speed,” says Coetzer. “Staff are more challenged by how to get the icon on their desktop than they are by using the program,” she jokes.
Because each clinic at Wake Forest Baptist functions as its own business unit, each management team contacts ITS regarding software needs. Occasionally, a clinic requests an alternate queue management solution, but “as soon as they talk to the staff who already use Q-Flow, and see the product for themselves, they’re completely sold,” says Coetzer.
Today, over 30 of the center’s multispecialty clinics depend on Q-Flow to streamline patient flow and keep the clinics running smoothly. Self-service check-in and automated wait time alerts decreased patient wait times and contributed to calmer, less stressful lobby environments. Metrics available within Q-Flow have also led to more efficient resource allocation, contributing to cost savings.
Beyond Wait Times
Q-Flow also allows users to track a variety of metrics. At Wake Forest Baptist, tracking peak times and patient volume has been especially helpful. “This reporting has become really critical,” emphasized Coetzer. Customizing staffing levels according to peak times reduces overhead costs, and because there is better coverage during busy times, staff morale and productivity has increased.
Q-Flow metrics have also helped make the case for hiring much-needed staff. Clinic managers can now back up requests for new hires with data. “Saying you need staff versus showing the actual volume and flow really provided the proof that certain clinics were understaffed,” Coetzer explains.
Not every medical center under the Wake Forest Baptist umbrella has implemented Q-Flow—acquired facilities often come with their own legacy systems. But Coetzer anticipates high interest levels. “This product basically sells itself,” Coetzer says. “There’s never been a situation where I’ve called [ACF Technologies] with questions and they did not have the answer. They have a solution for absolutely everything.”