Specialty access in outpatient clinics

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Primary and ambulatory care

Brooke Wessman
Sr. Management Engineer
Henry Ford Health System

The goal of specialty access is to ensure each medical and surgical specialty provides patients and referring physicians with routine appointments within two weeks of the request at each practice location.

The presentation will outline the following:

  • Why access is important to Henry Ford Medical Group
  • The four stages that were taken to implement access methodologies:
    • Matching supply and demand
      • Understanding the outpatient clinical FTE relative to the numerous other responsibilities of specialty physicians
    • Maximizing efficient use of existing supply
      • Finding the "Truth in Scheduling"
      • Understanding how the specialties utilize their time by site, hour of day, and day of week.
    • Minimizing process variability and complexity
      • 82 percent reduction in appointment type codes
    • Proactively managing the supply chain
      • Identified an "air traffic controller" for each department to oversee and monitor provider schedules at all sites
  • The dashboard that was created monthly to track improvements in the following areas:
    • Access - leadtime
    • Efficiency - provider utilization
    • Waste - cancellations and no shows
  • Lessons learned to date
  • Keeping the momentum going