Respirology and Martin Family Centre see success meeting key targets
Toronto, October 19, 2012
By Heather Brown
Natasha Theocharides, a clinical assistant in respirology, grabs a patient file, while talking to another patient on a headset. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)
Clinics in respirology and the Martin Family Centre have seen marked improvement in key targets related to patient experience since they started a pilot program to implement new standards for ambulatory clinics.
Respirology has reduced the time from physician referral to booking a patient’s appointment 3.2 days from 16 days. It more than doubled the percentage of patient calls to the clinic that are answered in person to 69 per cent from 33 per cent and the percentage of patients seen by a physician within 20 minutes to 44 per cent from 20.
“These changes didn’t happen overnight but they are making a big difference in our clinic,” said Natasha Theocharides, a clinical assistant in respirology.
One of the easiest changes flowing from the ambulatory review was to give phone headsets to all clerical staff in respirology.
“Patients especially appreciate having their calls answered when they phone our clinic,” Theocharides said. “With the introduction of headsets, we have been able to answer more calls in person than ever before. The headsets make us more flexible because we can leave reception to attend to other tasks while still remaining available to speak to our patients.”
Martin Family Centre registration has moved from the Queen Lobby into the clinic, increasing the percentage of patients seen within 20 minutes by a physician to 56 per cent from 21 per cent. The centre also lowered its physician cancellation rate to two per cent from nine per cent and improved the call answer rate to 74 per cent from 61.
Each clinic chose three standards to focus on initially, allowing faster outcomes.
“In a clinic as large at the Martin Family Centre, focusing on a few standards at a time made the implementation process less overwhelming and achievable,” said Leonard Ojha, clinical leader manager for the Mobility Program. “There is more work to be done, but seeing the successes to date helps us focus on improving the other standards.”
The ambulatory review is a corporate priority to provide efficient, cost-effective, quality care to patients across the hospital using a patient-centred and team-based approach.
The hospital’s remaining 13 clinic locations are in various stages of implementing process changes. The standards will be rolled out in all clinics by March.