To help ensure that patients and front-desk staff understand what orders, referrals, and other follow-up tasks require attention before the patient leaves the office, the Taos, N.M., practice of Alana Benjamin, MD, implemented “checkout sheets” that have proven popular and improved their clinical workflow.
She describes them as “simple, laminated forms that list patient documents that we frequently print out (e.g., mammogram orders, lab orders, referrals, patient education handouts, and hard-copy prescriptions) and follow-up appointment options (e.g., “FU20 in 3 months with Dr. B for follow-up diabetes”). At the end of my patient visits, I circle items on this checkout sheet using a wet-erase marker, which is a great way to summarize my visit with the patient. The patient then brings the checkout sheet to the front-desk staff, who now know exactly which documents to print out for the patient and when or whether to schedule a follow-up appointment. Afterwards, the laminated sheet can be erased and reused.”
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