A friendly face heralds the transformation of outpatient services.
Expectant women and their families attending the antenatal clinic at Canterbury Hospital are being greeted by the friendly face of new concierge Katina Avouris.
Katina’s appointment is part of a suite of changes at the busy clinic that are designed to improve the experience of outpatients and staff in line with the District’s focus on patient and family centred care.
Known as the Outpatient Transformation Program, the initiative aims to design and implement changes to outpatient services based on the feedback and experience of staff, patients and their families.
Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson said the Program is a response to regular feedback from patients that while the clinical care they receive is excellent, there is room for improvement in the way they receive information about wait times and appointment availability.
“We have lots of people waiting in waiting rooms, often for hours, uncertain about what’s going to happen to them, uncertain about timeframes and the process,” Dr Anderson said.
“We need to be anticipating the needs of those people: what are going to be the things that cause them concern and how we can address that in a proactive way.”
Following the successful pilot at Canterbury antenatal, the Outpatient Transformation Program is being rolled out across the District over the next 12 months.
The Program team will be visiting the District’s many outpatient services where they will use surveys, conversations and observations to understand the patient experience.
The team will also talk with staff to identify areas of improvement and to assist with implementing changes.
“Our aim is that within the next 12 months, we will have completely transformed every outpatient department in the District so that they’re much more patient and family centred, that they’re much more about meeting the overall needs of the patient and creating a very positive experience supported by excellent clinical care,” Dr Anderson said.
At Canterbury, concierge Katina is already making a difference by greeting and directing patients, answering questions and chasing pathology results.
A new Midwifery Unit Manager has been employed and brochures have been designed to illustrate the “pathways” women will be undertaking over the ensuing months.
Clinic staff have introduced a daily “stand-up”, a five to 15-minute discussion with all team members to increase communication around issues such as capacity planning, training, leave, patient compliments and complaints.
Longer-term, the clinic will be refurbished, including the construction of a children’s play area with an interactive digital wall, a wall mural, bookshelf and wall mounted toy panel. The play area is being funded by a $28,900 grant awarded at The Pitch in November 2017.
The clinic was chosen as the pilot site for the Program because of its significant culturally and linguistically diverse cohort: In 2017, women identified from 59 different religions and spoke more than 140 different languages.
More than 17000 occasions of care occur annually, being a mix of routine checks of low-risk cases to complex high-risk pregnancies.
Cheryl Ferguson, Midwifery Unit Manager (MUM) of the Birthing Unit at Canterbury Hospital said the Project Team, known as transformers, had made a significant improvement to the running of the antenatal clinic.
“If you are fortunate enough to have the transformers at your clinic, embrace the change, offer up all suggestions and run with it,” Ms Ferguson said.
“It truly has been an illuminating experience.”
RPA’s antenatal and cardiology clinic will be visited by the Program Team in February 2018, with the remaining services across all District sites to follow, including RPA Medical Centre, radiology and IRO, Community Health Services and outpatient services provided at Redfern, Marrickville and Croydon Community Health Centres.
Each outpatient service will undergo a suite of changes tailored to its unique situation and needs. Mobile phone charging stations, water coolers, comfortable seating and shade cloths for outdoor areas are just some of the ideas that will be considered.
Crucially, every clinic will have an electronic board installed in public areas with performance indicators such as falls, pressure ulcers, activity levels, wait times and patient-reported experience measures.
“Because we know the more we connect with our patients, and their families and the community, the more we are able to provide services that are actually meeting their needs,” Dr Anderson said.
The benefits of patient and family centred care include improved clinical outcomes, operational performance, efficiency and increased staff satisfaction levels.
For more information about the Program or to find out when the team is coming to your service, contact Grace Scott, the Program Manager on 0459886251 or email Grace.Scott@health.nsw.gov.au.