Same Day Access

Each year at this time, UMass Memorial Health Care completes its audited financial statements. Each year we also take this opportunity to sit down with reporters from the Worcester Telegram to discuss the past year’s financial numbers and discuss our plans for the coming year.

During the interview Patrick Muldoon and I talked a lot about our role as a health care safety net for the community and our transition from a system that was primarily focused on “rescue care” to one that is focused on “health care” or in other words keeping our patients home, healthy and their chronic conditions managed.  One of the biggest challenges we face right now is maintaining the expensive infrastructure necessary to work in both models of care, especially as inpatient volume across the state drops rapidly.

We will always need to serve as the critical care center for the region, but will likely need far less inpatient capacity that we have maintained in the past. The transition we must go through will, at times, be painful but I know working together we will get through it and emerge stronger than ever.

Click here if you have access to the online version of the Telegram & Gazette to see an online version of an article based on today’s interview, and please be on the lookout for an article in the printed version tomorrow.

Last week, I shared my New Year’s Resolutions in this blog. One of those resolutions is for UMMHC is to absolutely require – without exception – excellence in everything that we do.

Excellence for us is defined by access, flow, quality and service to our patients and our caregivers. Our patients deserve same or next day access to our services (Access), our patients should not be sitting in the corridors of the emergency department or the waiting rooms of our clinics (Flow) we should be delivering the same gold standard of care throughout the organization (Quality) and we should treat our patients and one another with compassion (Service).

Throughout the year I will be sharing examples of how we are doing in these areas.

One example of progress in Access at the Medical Center is that almost ¾ of our clinics are now offering new patients the option to be seen on the same or next day through our 1-855-UMassMD phone number. If patients are unable to take advantage of this offering, our goal is to offer them a preferred date and time within 14 calendar days. In Cardiology, 81% of new patients are being scheduled within 14 days of their appointment requests!

This success is being achieved thanks to a great combination of physician leadership, a dedicated staff who hold semi-monthly multidisciplinary meetings to discuss issues, review data on several measures such as no-show and bump rates and telecom metrics and make tweaks to the process regularly.

“The Cardiology team has made access a part of their culture,” said Access Project Manager Susan Sweet, about their success.

Thanks to all of you that are demanding excellence in your area of the organization and thanks for taking great care of our patients and one another,

Eric

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