A clinical practice of 150 physicians supported an Urgent Care Clinic, which also handled overflow patient needs from the neighboring hospital. On average they were turning away 15 walk-in patients per weekend and 2 per day during the week due to full schedules. Unrealized potential revenue from those patients was estimated at significant financial value, and turning patients away was contrary to their mission of providing care to the community.
The team used a customized continuous improvement approach including Kaizen events, process design, and Lean best practices to analyze the end-to-end process from scheduling and walk-ins to treatment. Key improvements included: modifying scheduling rules to include walk-in slots for each physician each hour, streamlining communications, and improving patient flow.
Process revisions eliminated the need to turn any patient away. Enhanced physician and staff utilization allowed physicians to be free from overloaded schedules and to keep up with patient records. Improved patient flow data created more accurate staffing projections. Better planning, and more streamlined administration reduced provider abrasion. Greater capacity to accept walk-in patients led to an increase in the use of ancillary services, and allowed the facility to increase the amount of care provided to the local community.
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