Today, I took a project from the initial idea to completion in one day. The problem was the turn around time for attendance sheets to be turned in. Although that was the problem, it could have been the time it takes to have a client return paperwork to you or saving the time of your patients at your practice. The first thing to keep in mind is there are few new problems. The second is that technology alone will not fix any of your problems.
The problem was the process of filling out a form on carbon paper and making sure each copy goes where it needs to. Almost a year prior to this I had developed a web application to store this data and so I leveraged it to create a single page that emailed the information from the form to the required recipients.
The technical aspects of the change are trivial but the impact of the change takes the turn around time from days to minutes and makes it easier for all involved. That is the power of leveraging computers to streamline processes. Computers are great a storing and transferring information. A similar solution may help with pre-screening patients or clients. Email them a link to the form when you make the appointment and let them know it will save time waiting in your office. The real secret is that it will save your staff time from typing it all in and allow you to have a solution ready. That is a win, win, win!
The purpose of this post is to ask the question: what if? What if every week you find a small problem, not world peace, but a single stress point in your organization and come up with a different work flow to alleviate the pain. The worst thing is it did not work and you spent a day finding out it did not. What if a different way of doing things allows others time to do other, more valuable tasks?
Not all projects can be done in a day nor should some be attempted. The goal is to figure out which can and do them. Analyze the problem, determine a solution. Get buy-in from those who will use it. Create a rough draft and get more feedback. Leverage existing infrastructure. Do something!