Finding Real-World Solutions to Everyday Challenges

happy-holidaysHappy Holidays wishes to all of you. This season of gift-giving and sharing led me to reflect on one of the greatest gifts our patients and health care system have received this past year – the gift of listening.

Just over a year ago we did an assessment of how easy/difficult it is to get an appointment with us and the results were embarrassing: “multiple phone numbers to call,” “hand off after hand off,” “you’re like the Fort Knox of health care; no one can get in.”

The most embarrassing part is that our frontline caregivers in Patient Access Services (PAS) Central Scheduling knew how to fix the problems, but their voice was not being heard. This lack of listening led to poor service to our patients and low caregiver satisfaction with the job.

Fast forward to today and the implementation of hundreds of caregiver ideas – our patients can now call 855-UMASS-MD and either book their appointments immediately, leave a message and have PAS call back with an appointment, fill out a request for an appointment online, or go to Zoc Doc and book an appointment online with select providers. Zoc Doc began last week; watch for more information about it here and on our website. Eventually all our established patients will be able to book their appointments online if they choose through our patient portal which now has more than 37,000 patients enrolled.

The PAS team used this Idea Board to improve its performance and employee engagement.

The PAS team used this Idea Board to improve its performance and employee engagement.

The transformation has been remarkable and all it took was listening to the people that do the work. This gift of listening has not only improved service to our patients but also improved caregiver satisfaction as measured on our most recent caregiver satisfaction survey of the PAS Central Scheduling area.

Great job team!

Our Idea of the Week comes from Clinton Hospital. The OR/ambulatory clinic was looking for ways to standardize the notification of patients’ families after surgery. Marianne Tencati, LPN, created a standard contact info form that includes all family members waiting for an update after surgery with their location and contact information. The contact form is placed on the front of the patient chart for easy access, allowing doctors to quickly make the necessary outreach to family members. By including this notification step in the overall patient care process, and not as a separate process, the team has created greater efficiency in contacting family members for improved patient and employee satisfaction.

Well done!

Thanks for all your great ideas and for taking great care of our patients and one another,


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