It is often easy to identify problems at work. It is far more difficult to find effective solutions to those problems.
As an organization with a mission to provide excellent clinical care, City of Hope is committed to identifying and implementing sustainable solutions to its problems. With a plan to improve processes, City of Hope is launching Accelerating Care Excellence (ACE), a program that will initially focus on improving the patient experience in the outpatient clinics.
|Clockwise from left, Houri Yeghiayan, Kathleen Dorsey, Ben Calnon and Lucy Vizcarrondo discuss outpatient care. (Photo by Alicia Di Rado)|
“We receive extremely high marks on inpatient satisfaction surveys, but to reach our true potential as a provider of excellent care, we need to provide a better experience for our outpatients,” said Alexandra M. Levine, M.D., chief medical officer. “I am confident that Accelerating Care Excellence will significantly improve the service we provide in our outpatient clinics.”
Noted Virginia Opipare, executive vice president and chief operating officer: “This program has the full support of City of Hope’s leadership and our intention is to see it develop into a program that will drive continuous improvement.”
Opipare explained that ACE is based on principles of mutual respect and shared responsibility. In the outpatient clinics, patients and families are of prime importance, along with physicians, nurses and staff. ACE will bring management and staff from various areas of the organization together to identify opportunities for improving service and care for patients and their family members.
These opportunities then become “rapid improvement events,” which are week-long sessions in which a team with a clear understanding of the particular area analyzes problems and develops quick and lasting solutions.
Organizations that have used similar methodologies have seen great improvements in exam room wait times, patient wait time for registration and lengths of calls to schedule a procedure, according to Simpler Business Systems, which is helping City of Hope to facilitate the ACE program.
ACE leaders earmarked outpatient check-in as City of Hope’s first focus area. Currently, outpatients check in at the front desk of the Machris building, and then must check in at other locations throughout their visit. This process creates delays in appointments and frustration for patients and staff alike.
The rapid improvement event for the patient check-in process will occur from Nov. 2 to 6. Facilitated by Houri Yeghiayan, physician relations manager, and Ben Calnon, administrative fellow, the team will include Sharon Steingass, R.N., M.S.N., ambulatory services vice president; Melagros Barcelona, ambulatory services line coordinator; See “Cecilia” Lau, R.Ph., B.C.O.P., pharmacist; Robert Lee, radiology technician; Paula Ramos, phlebotomist; Kathleen Dorsey, R.N., B.S.N., clinical nurse manager; Lucy Vizcarrondo, patient registration manager; and Beatriz Armenta and Valarie Fabacher, both in registration.
The team will report its implemented changes on Nov. 6 at 7:30 a.m. in Platt Conference Center Room 3. All employees are invited to attend, and a continental breakfast will be served.
“We are extremely enthusiastic about the potential of Accelerating Care Excellence to transform our outpatient processes,” Levine said. “We are already looking forward to holding additional rapid improvements events in December and in January.”
Questions about the ACE program may be addressed to Tricia Kassab, vice president of quality and patient safety, at firstname.lastname@example.org.