Industrial Engineering

Saving time with reminders

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Picture source: http://www.pixabay.com
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 48: NUMBER 04
By Ashlyn Kirk

In the healthcare industry, patient satisfaction is the key. Children’s Health in Dallas began looking for a process to improve its ambulatory services, the starting point for the process improvement initiative was when the department was evaluating staffing requirements for the ambulatory clinic. By centralized registration team to go into the clinics, so that registration can be done together at the same time when the patients’ appointments is scheduled, it gives the staff a lot more workload. The lack of staff was noticed by patients, who increasingly signaled that they were dissatisfied with their care.

The obvious answer, of course, is to hire more workers. However, to improve the efficiency the manager decided to initiate a process improvement using Lean Six Sigma. Under the registration system, staff members manually called as many patients as possible to remind them of their appointments. The initial thought, which was to eliminate the process of phoning patients with appointment reminders, obviously couldn’t be done.

The answer to the problem was to use an automated system from TeleVox. The Tele-Vox system called or texted patients three days prior to their appointment, allowing patients to confirm or cancel their appointment via phone. If the TeleVox system did not receive a response, only then did the centralized appointment team manually contact the patient two days prior to the appointment. This new system creates a funnel that reduces the amount of manual labor needed to remind patients of their appointments, allowing the staff to concentrate on patient satisfaction and care.