How to Improve the Hospital Pre-admission Process

nurse with mask typing on a computer
Vicky Hong
May 16, 2022
1 min read
nurse with mask typing on a computer

Hospital pre-admission is a process that occurs before a patient is checked into a hospital. This is also the time for hospitals to collect a patient’s health information.

Patients are required to fill in numerous pre-admission forms containing key information, which includes:

  • Personal details such as address, telephone, email, country of birth etc.
  • Medicare card number
  • Funding details
  • Benefit details
  • Allergy questionnaire
  • Medical history questionnaire
  • Returned service information

This process of admitting a patient into a hospital can be stressful for both staff and patients.

The challenges of pre-admission

There are many key pains around manual pre-admission.

Manual tasks

Nurses are manually collecting documents, calling up patients and entering data into the system. Not only is this process taking more than 20 minutes per patient, it is also creating immense pressure on nurses. Furthermore, the significant administrative workload gives rise to greater room for errors.

Lost or inaccurate paperwork

The process of pre-admission is further lengthened when mailed paperwork is lost, inaccurate forms are submitted, or when forms are not completed. This results in a lot of additional reviewing procedures.

In extreme cases, missing information may lead to compliance repercussions. Hospitals may rack up hefty fines especially without a compliance management system.

Lack of organisation

Research shows nurses spend about 25% of their time on documentation. This is a result of various pre-admission forms located in various mediums. Thus review and retrieval can become a tedious task.

Overtime, the absence of an organised paperwork system can affect the amount of time nurses spend on direct patient care.

How can you improve hospital pre-admission?

The objective of improving a hospital pre-admission process is to make it as efficient and stress-free as possible. When devising strategies for your pre-admission process, hospitals should aim to be person-centred.

Provide ample information

Hospitals can help alleviate stress on families and patients by providing ample information about what to expect.

This can include facility maps and information packets about the patients’ procedures. When there is sufficient information and assurance provided, patients and their families will be more at ease and less anxious. The pre-admission process can be made smoother and more efficient.

Using digital tools can generate a more efficient pre-admission process.

Eliminate the paper process

Hospitals can consider prioritising the elimination of the paper process through automation. This includes:

  1. Digital patient checklist
  2. Centralised location for paperwork
  3. Automated reminders

Digital patient checklist

Creating a digital hospital pre-admission checklist can help to minimise time-consuming phone calls with patients. Patients can refer to a comprehensive overview  on the forms they should submit and the forms they have missed out. Nurses can then expect less paperwork discrepancies since patients are able to keep track of them.

Centralised location for paperwork

A healthcare document management system can ensure that patients’ paperwork is managed efficiently and effectively. Any editing within a centralised system will be easily updated. Nurses will also be able to view patients’ paperwork status at one glance.

Automated reminders

Rather than calling up patients to remind them about bringing certain documents to the hospital, automated electronic reminders can save heaps of time. This way, nurses can spend lesser time on phone calls and reduce delays.

Select and train the right staff

Staff who are responsible for pre-admission tasks must have strong customer service skills.

These staff must have exceptional telephone skills and should be trained to enter data into the system while speaking to the patient. Sometimes, having only administrative and interpersonal skills may not be sufficient. Clinical expertise may come into play if patients have any urgent queries about their procedures.

In summary

The pre-admission process is instrumental in forming a good first impression of a hospital. Improving the efficiency of it is likely to make an immediate impression as patients can expect shorter wait times.

In view of the Covid-19 and the flu season peak this winter, admissions will naturally be on the rise. If this process is poorly managed, it can lead to overwhelmed patients and staff. In worse cases, patients may even decide to pursue their care at another facility.

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