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People vs Process in the Medical Practice

July 26, 2017





Govindh speaks with Nigel Ellis of IMBA Medical, where Nigel is responsible for all practice efficiency products. 


According to Nigel, when working towards improving efficiency, the focus needs to be on improving the process first, rather than on improving the efficiency of people.   People are a part of the process, just as software and automated activities are, and so by focusing on people first, you are only focusing on one part of the overall process.  In focusing first on people efficiency, the operational steps and gaps in the process are often overlooked or ignored.


A better strategy is to review and measure the process first, and then look at the individual components, including people.

When looking to improve or measure efficiency, begin by describe the process from beginning to end:  how does the patient contact you?  When and how do they arrive?  What are the various steps in between?  When do they leave?  Bring the whole team together to outline the process and their parts in it.   Now they know how they’re going to work together, they’ve agreed they’re going to work together in that certain way, and they feel invested in the entire process.  There is a collaboration, and often you’ll find that people improve in efficiency once a clear process is in place. 


The risk in approaching an efficiency improvement by beginning with people is that you may replace a person who you believe to be inefficient, but then send the replacement right back into an inefficient process, and the problem begins all over again.


By focusing on the process first, and incorporating a visible dashboard, the various components can be measured along a process, and decisions can be made simply and easily.  Having a clear process and a visible measure of performance means that people can then measure themselves and their own individual performance against a visible standard of expectation.

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