The largest children’s hospital in the U.S., Texas Children’s Hospital has over 950 patient beds; 13,500 employees; 2,000 faculty members, residents and fellows; and 4.2 million patient encounters systemwide per year.
The hospital recognized opportunities for process improvement related to patient and referring provider satisfaction around appointment scheduling. Challenges included difficulty making appointments, long wait times for obtaining appointments and difficulty referring patients.
In order to address this, they identified three goals: optimizing appointment scheduling, simplifying the referral process to improve the caregiver experience inside and outside the hospital, and leveraging technology to empower patients and families.
Stage 7 Success Story: Improving Patient Access, Easing Provider Burden
The hospital created an executive steering team (EST) to lead efforts focused on improving patient access, which included senior operational and physician leaders from multiple entities across the system.
The EST finalized and executed on the following goals:
- Optimize appointment scheduling through the use of standardized appointment templates and automation of appointment reminders and recapture.
- Empower patients and families by leveraging technology to improve activation and utilization of patient portals, implementation of an electronic fast pass waitlist in the EMR, and rolling out online scheduling capabilities.
- Simplify the referral process for physicians through the use of standardized referral forms, automation of visit summaries sent to referring physicians, and enhanced communication through a remote-access web portal to reduce documentation burden for caregivers.
The organization realized many improvements and accomplishments after executing the action items for each goal:
Optimized appointment scheduling
- Decreased amount of no-show patient appointments by 3%
- Increased patient volume by 18%
- Expanded appointment opportunities for 83% of subspecialties across the organization, which now offer new appointments within 14 days
Simplified referral process to empower caregivers
- Unified 60 separate processes into one systemwide referral process
- Reduced referral completion time from two minutes to approximately 30 seconds
- Expanded visit summaries to reach 100% of referring physicians
Empowered patients and families with technology
- Increased patient portal activation by 13%
- Improved use of electronic waitlist; over 5,000 offers accepted with average 46-day improvement
- Allowed for 21,665 appointments to be scheduled online; 70% were new patients
- Redistributed 2,572 scheduling hours, leading to a cost avoidance of more than $267,996
Achieving EMRAM and O-EMRAM Stage 7 Validations
HIMSS is pleased to recognize Texas Children’s Hospital for their HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) and Outpatient Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (O-EMRAM) Stage 7 validation.
“Texas Children’s Hospital is focused on the well-being of both their caregivers and patients,” said Philip Bradley, regional director, analytics, HIMSS. “While technology can improve workflow and safety, Texas Children’s Hospital is leveraging technology to give caregivers more time at their patients’ bedside.”
“By standardizing processes and improving efficiency with modern technology, the way the organization approaches patient access was completely revolutionized,” said Carrie Rys, assistant vice president, pediatric ambulatory operations, Texas Children’s Hospital.