Improving patient experiences reduces wait times by two-thirds, improves practice efficiency

Dr Steve Hansen and his Murrayville Medical practice team – MOAs Jenelle and Melisa, RN Kari, and LPN Connie – work in an incredibly busy maternity practice.

“There’s a lot of disruption, and no extra capacity,” says Dr Hansen. “Each day is full. When it is busy and there is not a lot of margin, the more efficient we can be, the better.”

So where can such a busy practice find efficiencies?

For Dr Hansen’s team, part of the solution was discovered in a reflective assessment of how patients’ felt about their office visits.

In 2018, the team used the GPSC’s electronic patient experience survey tool to ask patients about how they were doing. Through an tablet survey filled out by patients in the waiting room, 140 patients gave perspectives about the office environment, their relationship with the doctor, interactions with the health care team, and self management confidence.

Results were generally positive; with the exception of access and wait times. Patients felt the wait time was too long, and there was room for improvement.

Working with their PSP Regional Support Team coordinator Shefali Raja, the team implemented a variety of strategies – including educating patients about what to expect at an appointment, and how to plan for effective appointments, as well as form completion - as part of their practice facilitation cycle. In doing so, the practice team was able to cut wait times by two-thirds.

For patients, those changes meant that the average time from their arrival to being seen was reduced from 60 minutes to 20 minutes.

MOA Jenelle says that the Patient Experience Tool was well worthwhile for everyone.

“Patients are happier, and pleased when there is often no wait at all,” she says. “It makes a huge difference for us.”