Let’s Talk Pre-Visit Planning

04/07/22 | Featured

Pre-visit planning is a strategy used to maximize the benefits of a healthcare visit with extra preparation, focusing the appointment, and creating a patient-specific care plan. Overall, pre-visit planning ensures a smoothly operating clinic and benefits both patients and healthcare providers.

Traditionally, a patient's medical care for an issue begins at an appointment, but patient care can begin before your time together and can extend past the current visit. It helps to think about someone's medical care as a continuum rather than as isolated incidents.

We think of a healthcare visit in three major stages:

Preparation: Prior to the Appointment

A pre-visit questionnaire for the patient can elucidate what issues the patient wants to address during the appointment. The limited-time of a healthcare appointment can be best spent if the provider knows which questions to ask and which clinical exams need to be completed. A visit will not be well-spent if the reason a patient is there is unknown at the beginning of the appointment. Moreover, there may be laboratory tests that can be completed before an appointment and then reviewed during the visit, eliminating the need for an extra visit to plan testing. In addition to patient questionnaires, the provider can review patient history prior to the appointment, eliminating time spent reviewing patient history and asking unnecessarily redundant questions during the visit.

Using Affirm Health’s tool can assist in gathering the necessary information for you to review in one easy spot. Our pre-visit planning app organizes information specific to the patient and their specific insurance – while aligning those with the system’s priorities.


Intentional Assessment: During the Appointment

 

Guided by the pre-appointment preparation, the medical provider can ask direct questions about issues the patient wants to address and can complete the necessary clinical examination. Additionally, the provider should order the required follow-up tests and schedule them before the end of the appointment. The provider should also make a care plan so the patient leaves knowing precisely what they need to complete before the following appointment. These measures prevent wasted time contacting the patient after leaving the clinic and the patient attempting to figure out the next steps.

Action Plan: After Appointment

The patient should leave their appointment knowing exactly when they should return to the clinic and what other steps they must take before the next appointment.

There should be clear goals for patient care following the appointment, so there is no time spent floundering and wondering what to do next. These goals and plans make time between visits meaningful and set up follow-up appointments for success.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s article that dives deeper into the ten steps of pre-visit planning.