Sep 15, 2015
Improving Patient Access – by KSB Chief Nursing Officer Linda Clemen
Access is a key part of the KSB strategic plan. In any setting, access is critical to keeping our community healthy, and happy. If you have ever moved to a new community and found yourself in need of establishing with a new health system, you know just how important access is. It could be for that terrible cold you caught, your kids’ school physical, or just a routine checkup – but each of these situations holds some sense of urgency, and this means a need for better access.
KSB began its journey to increase access last December when Katherine, our fictitious patient needing healthcare services, showed staff the importance of needing the right care at the right time, every time. Click here to meet Katherine.
All health systems are required to survey patients, and two of the questions directly correlate to access. The data was glaring. Our patients are not getting help as soon as they feel they need it. We have work to do.
- In the last 12 months, when you made an appointment for a checkup for routine care with this provider, how often did you get help as soon as you needed? 75.1% responded always.
- In the last 12 months, when you phoned this provider’s office to get an appointment for a check-up or routine care with this provider, how often did you get an appointment as soon as you needed? 70.2% responded always.
This past summer, we set our sights on improving access throughout the clinic setting, beginning with Oregon clinic. KSB partnered with R-Conrad Consulting to develop and implement lean processes that will optimize our resources and ultimately increase access. Some of our goals include:
• Providing convenient access to KSB clinic services as we preserve our place in a highly competitive market
• Improving efficiency and efficacy
• Engaging physicians and staff
• Increasing patient access and revenue
• Learning and sustaining lean process improvement methodology
Our in-house process improvement team, alongside R-Conrad Consulting, has worked with physicians to redesign their schedules, remove waste, and defects, so we can launch another component in this project; the “2+ Challenge”. This program challenges physicians to see an additional two patients each day. Doing this will allow us to accommodate 80-100 new patients which will ultimately help us provide better access to care for the patients in our community, when they want or need it most.