Using Cost-Effective Methods to Optimize Clinic Access and Satisfaction

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Anne Myers
Management Engineer
Shands HealthCare

Danielle Grimmer
Engineering Intern
Shands HealthCare

Industrial engineering and project management tools are combined to produce cost-effective changes that improve clinic access and satisfaction. A cardiac catheterization clinic project in a large academic medical center demonstrates how these methods are used. Improvements are achieved through process mapping, multi-disciplinary committees, staffing analysis, satisfaction surveys, and other tools.

A combination of industrial engineering and project management techniques and tools are an advantageous method of improving clinic access and overall patient satisfaction. An improvement project in the cardiac catheterization lab clinic of a large academic medical center is presented to demonstrate the process and use of methods, and the patient experience outcomes are discussed.

Using the industrial engineering technique of process mapping, problem areas are identified and assessed based on the complexity of the overall process, as well as the duration of each activity. Project management tools are then used to form and structure multi-disciplinary improvement committees. The committees work to prioritize issues and suggest improvement ideas. Cost-effective ideas are evaluated and improvement plans are implemented. For example, hospital volunteers are used to greet patients upon arrival at the hospital, orient patients to locations of interest within the facility, and continuously check in with patients prior to their procedures. Additionally, an increase in patient holding room capacity was facilitated through the relocation of equipment to under-utilized spaces elsewhere in the clinic.

To determine changes in satisfaction related to improvement efforts, the results of staff and quarterly patient satisfaction surveys are analyzed.