A Quality Improvement Intervention to Increase Access to Pediatric Subspecialty Practice

ArticleinPEDIATRICS 131(2) · January 2013with5 Reads
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-1463 · Source: PubMed
Objective: To improve access to new pediatric endocrinology appointments in an urban academic hospital faculty-based practice. Methods: Three strategies were implemented to increase the number of appointment slots: new patient appointments were protected from conversion to follow-up appointments; all physicians, including senior faculty, were scheduled to see 3 to 4 new patients per session; and sessions devoted exclusively to follow-up appointments were added based on demand. The main outcomes for this quality improvement activity were waiting times for new and follow-up appointments, monthly visit volume, the per-provider visit volume, differences in the proportion of new visits, and clinic arrival rates pre- and postintervention. Results: Thirteen months after the intervention, average wait for a new patient appointment decreased from 11.4 to 1.7 weeks (P < .001) and follow-up appointment wait time decreased from 8.2 to 2.9 weeks (P < .001). Mean monthly total visit volume increased from 284 to 366 patient visits (P < .01) and mean monthly visit volume per provider increased from 36.8 to 41.0 patients (P = .08). New patients were 27% of the visit volume and 35% after the intervention. Conclusions: Access to our pediatric specialty care clinic was improved without increasing the number of providers by improved scheduling.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Missed appointments ("no-shows") represent an important source of lost revenue for academic medical centers. The goal of this study was to examine the costs of "no-shows" at an academic pediatric neurology outpatient clinic. This was a retrospective cohort study of patients who missed appointments at an academic pediatric neurology outpatient clinic during 1 academic year. Revenue lost was estimated based on average reimbursement for different insurance types and visit types. The yearly "no-show" rate was 26%. Yearly revenue lost from missed appointments was $257,724.57, and monthly losses ranged from $15,652.33 in October 2013 to $27,042.44 in January 2014. The yearly revenue lost from missed appointments at the pediatric neurology clinic represents funds that could have been used to improve patient access and care. Further work is needed to develop strategies to decrease the no-show rate to decrease lost revenue and improve patient care and access. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Article · Oct 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Long waiting times for elective healthcare procedures may cause distress among patients, may have adverse health consequences and may be perceived as inappropriate delivery and planning of health care. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing waiting times for elective care, both diagnostic and therapeutic. Search methods: We searched the following electronic databases: Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (1946-), EMBASE (1947-), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ABI Inform, the Canadian Research Index, the Science, Social Sciences and Humanities Citation Indexes, a series of databases via Proquest: Dissertations & Theses (including UK & Ireland), EconLit, PAIS (Public Affairs International), Political Science Collection, Nursing Collection, Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts and Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. We sought related reviews by searching the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE). We searched trial registries, as well as grey literature sites and reference lists of relevant articles. Selection criteria: We considered randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled before-after studies (CBAs) and interrupted time series (ITS) designs that met EPOC minimum criteria and evaluated the effectiveness of any intervention aimed at reducing waiting times for any type of elective procedure. We considered studies reporting one or more of the following outcomes: number or proportion of participants whose waiting times were above or below a specific time threshold, or participants' mean or median waiting times. Comparators could include any type of active intervention or standard practice. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently extracted data from, and assessed risk of bias of, each included study, using a standardised form and the EPOC 'Risk of bias' tool. They classified interventions as follows: interventions aimed at (1) rationing and/or prioritising demand, (2) expanding capacity, or (3) restructuring the intake assessment/referral process.For RCTs when available, we reported preintervention and postintervention values of outcome for intervention and control groups, and we calculated the absolute change from baseline or the effect size with 95% confidence interval (CI). We reanalysed ITS studies that had been inappropriately analysed using segmented time-series regression, and obtained estimates for regression coefficients corresponding to two standardised effect sizes: change in level and change in slope. Main results: Eight studies met our inclusion criteria: three RCTs and five ITS studies involving a total of 135 general practices/primary care clinics, seven hospitals and one outpatient clinic. The studies were heterogeneous in terms of types of interventions, elective procedures and clinical conditions; this made meta-analysis unfeasible.One ITS study evaluating prioritisation of demand through a system for streamlining elective surgery services reduced the number of semi-urgent participants waiting longer than the recommended time (< 90 days) by 28 participants/mo, while no effects were found for urgent (< 30 days) versus non-urgent participants (< 365 days).Interventions aimed at restructuring the intake assessment/referral process were evaluated in seven studies. Four studies (two RCTs and two ITSs) evaluated open access, or direct booking/referral: One RCT, which showed that open access to laparoscopic sterilisation reduced waiting times, had very high attrition (87%); the other RCT showed that open access to investigative services reduced waiting times (30%) for participants with lower urinary tract syndrome (LUTS) but had no effect on waiting times for participants with microscopic haematuria. In one ITS study, same-day scheduling for paediatric health clinic appointments reduced waiting times (direct reduction of 25.2 days, and thereafter a decrease of 3.03 days per month), while another ITS study showed no effect of a direct booking system on proportions of participants receiving a colposcopy appointment within the recommended time. One RCT and one ITS showed no effect of distant consultancy (instant photography for dermatological conditions and telemedicine for ear nose throat (ENT) conditions) on waiting times; another ITS study showed no effect of a pooled waiting list on the number of participants waiting for uncomplicated spinal surgery.Overall quality of the evidence for all outcomes, assessed using the GRADE (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) tool, ranged from low to very low.We found no studies evaluating interventions to increase capacity or to ration demand. Authors' conclusions: As only a handful of low-quality studies are presently available, we cannot draw any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of the evaluated interventions in reducing waiting times. However, interventions involving the provision of more accessible services (open access or direct booking/referral) show some promise.
    Article · Feb 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Farzana Islam (2016): Quality Improvement System for Maternal and Newborn Health Care at District and Sub-district Hospitals in Bangladesh. Örebro Studies in care Sciences 64. In Bangladesh, research focusing on the quality of maternal and newborn health (MNH) services in hospitals remains neglected. There have only been a few studies conducted on quality issues and found the quality of MNH care provided at district and sub-district hospitals to be poor. The overall objective of this thesis was to develop, implement and evaluate a framework for quality improvement (QI) system for MNH care at the district and sub-district level government hospitals in Bangladesh. The thesis is comprised of four papers. Mixed methods were used in paper I and paper IV. In paper II quantitative methods were utilized, and to develop the “Model QI System”, exploratory methodological approaches were used and illustrated in paper III. Group discussions, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, documents review and photography were utilised as qualitative data collection techniques. Through structured observation and exit interviews quantitative data were obtained. Findings of baseline survey identified several key factors that affected the quality of patient care: shortage of staff and logistics; lack of laboratory support; under use of patient-management protocols; lack of training; and insufficient supervision. The clinical performance of health care providers was found unsatisfactory. Utilizing the baseline survey findings and existing information on QI models, theories and QI intervention programmes implemented in different settings an adapted “Model QI System” and its implementation framework, guidelines and tools were developed. The key areas of this “Model QI System” included health system support, clinical service delivery, inter-departmental coordination; and utilization of services and client satisfaction. The adopted “Model QI System” was incorporated within the existing hospital management system and it was found that the quality of care improved. The evaluation of the study showed that the “Model QI System” was acceptable to the top health managers, health care providers and hospital support staff and feasible to implement in district and sub-district hospitals in Bangladesh. Keywords: Bangladesh, hospital, maternal health, newborn health, quality improvement. Farzana Islam, School of Health Sciences Örebro University, SE-701 82 Örebro, Sweden, e-mail:farzana.islam@oru.se
    Full-text · Thesis · Mar 2016 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)