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Bozeman Health News

Section: Employee News

Performance Improvement Boardwalk


During a Performance Improvement Boardwalk earlier this year, staff from Bozeman Health Belgrade Clinic demonstrated how they’ve made improvements in putting patients first by responding to concerns about access to care.

Providers and staff recognized an opportunity existed “to improve the process of cycling acute patients, beginning with patient check-in and ending with patient check-out,” said Damian Guillen, Belgrade Clinic registered medical assistant and Bozeman Health Quality Department performance improvement coordinator.

To meet the goal of reducing “cycle time” (number of minutes patients are in the clinic) by 10 percent for acute care patients, the 25 staff members instituted new guidelines at the beginning of 2015 in how provider time is scheduled and how patients are prepared to be seen by their provider.

Depending on the patient’s reason to seek care, the front office booked providers for 15 minutes with a patient for conditions such as skin rash, sore throat or vomiting, and 30 minutes for more complex issues such as chest pain, depression or abdominal pain. Additionally, they scheduled patients needing imaging only when a technician was available, and provided triage with a nurse for conditions such as neurological issues or high blood pressure to ensure the patient was seen in a timely manner.

Also, Belgrade Clinic nurses prepped patients for their specific conditions, ensuring bandages were removed from a patient’s wound, or collecting and analyzing specimens as required so results were available when the doctor entered the examination room.

After a year of using the new protocol, Guillen said, the Clinic met its goal, as visit times for acute patients dropped from 51 minutes to 46. The four family physicians were able to increase the number of patients seen daily from 10-12 up to 12-16 without feeling rushed. Patients have responded positively as well, commenting on quality of care and how effectively staff use their time with patients.

Categories: Employee News