Walk-In Lab Work

January 1, 2007

We have a question regarding office work flow for walk-ins needing lab work. We are a four-physician group of internists. We have patients walking in all day for lab draws. This is making our front office a mess and throws the back office behind all day. What’s the best way to streamline our processes?

Question: We have a question regarding office work flow for walk-ins needing lab work. We are a four-physician group of internists. We have patients walking in all day for lab draws. This is making our front office a mess and throws the back office behind all day. What’s the best way to streamline our processes?

Answer: The first thing you need to understand is why all these people are wandering in for lab work. Is it all Coumadin-related? Can some of the lab work be grouped into office visits that will occur a few days before or after? I’m not sure how that would fit into your work flow, but it certainly might be more efficient to know when to expect your patients to arrive.

You also can consider Coumadin (or other) clinics. Tell patients to come only during specific hours on specific days. Staff your lab with a nurse or phlebotomist whose only task during those days is to process those patients. Some practices are hiring pharmacists to handle this task.

Some hospitals have opened Coumadin clinics as a benefit to community physicians. Talk to yours.

You could also do the financial analysis to see if it’s worth keeping this lab work in-house in the first place.