Re-designed Outpatient Department Improves Patient Experiences

Re-designed Outpatient Department Improves Patient Experiences
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Published October 20th, 2010 - 16:10 GMT

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Noora Mohammed

The Women's Hospital (WH), a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) officially announced the completion of its project to re-organize the Outpatient Department (OPD) as part of a continuous drive to enhance its services. The project is one of the developments initiated by HMC to improve patient experience and increase their satisfaction.

"Our patients are at the heart of our services and we are committed to providing them with the highest quality of care" said Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Managing Director of Hamad Medical Corporation. "The recently introduced appointment booking system has significantly reduced the crowds and wait time, and we are now able to improve the services we offer patients at the Women Hospital by re-organizing the Outpatient."

"This comes as part of an overall modernization and development plan of Hamad hospitals that focuses around patient centered care. I would like to thank all the patients who have also changed their practices with us, which has allowed us to better serve them," Dr. Hanan added.

The focus on the re-organization is reflected by many services being brought to them for their ease and convenience; such as basic laboratory services which are now included in each clinic. Patient Assessments and Phlebotomy procedures (blood collection) are now done in the OPD in comfortable and bright rooms with efficient built-in furniture, indirect lighting as well as comfortable seating and recliners. Patients also find it much easier now to book appointments.

The Ultrasound facility now has dedicated slots reserved for patients who are sent from the OPD to have this procedure done – where previously ladies may have had to wait for some time to before they were able to complete this procedure, or they may have been required to come back for another appointment, this is no longer needed and they are generally able to be seen straight away for their Ultrasound.

Patients also find it much easier now to book appointments. Where previously the clinic was open from 8am to 12pm only – the clinic is now open from7:45am to 3pm, which offers patients a much wider selection of appointment times that suits their preference. Moreover, ladies are able to simply call the Booking Center hotline for their appointment and no longer have to come to the hospital to arrange this as was previously the case.

The old ticketing system for appointments was removed as part of the overall reengineering of the system processes within the OPD. Fewer women are now waiting in the waiting areas for the various procedures they may require as part of their treatment process. Their waiting times have been reduced, generally they wait between 5 to 10 minutes only before being seen, and the waiting environment is now more peaceful and attractive than before.

"This project was welcomed by our staff and patients and both have benefited from the changes we have made which reflect international best practice in the field of healthcare practice and design," said Mr. Nish Patel, Executive Director of the Women's Hospital. "The mandate to re-engineer the appointment system and redesign of the physical environment and internal space available at the OPD helped minimize the patient wait time and congestion. In addition, an attractive and patient friendly environment will raise the general patient experience."

Mr. Patel added that the OPD Booking Center, which was launched in November 2009, in collaboration with the Center for Healthcare Improvement, is the first OPD telephone appointment system within HMC that acts as a single point of contact for all patients. This new system has resulted in decreased wait times, reduced department congestion and increased clinical capacity.

Mrs. Noora Mohammed, who came for her follow-up appointment said "the new OPD is much nicer and the comfortable seating is great; I really appreciate that there are no crowds now and we are not rushed around as before – this arrangement works very well."

Mrs. Najla Mohammed added "This is a hundred times better than before, we don't have to wait long and; it's fantastic!"

"This project is part of a continuous series of improvements pledged by the leadership of HMC and Women's Hospital to streamline treatment processes along with a structured redesign to raise the quality of care we provide," said Ms. Freda Martin, Executive Director of the Center for Healthcare Improvement at HMC." Our system redesign has resulted in improving the time to progress through the OPD and required adjacent services by circa 70% as well as a reduction in the average wait time from registration to consultation room by circa 30%."

"We urge our patients not to miss their pre-booked appointments without informing us as this is part of a system specially designed for their ease and comfort. Two reminders are now issued to each patient, one three days prior to the appointment and the other is sent one day before. When patients simply do not show up for their appointments and do not call the hospital to let us know then this means we waste resources that have been allocated to caring for them and may also result in another patient missing their chance of an earlier appointment. With the ease of being able to change an appointment now simply by calling the Booking Center on +97144398000 to arrange this we hope patients will respect the system and the care we provide enough to comply," commented Ms Sheikha Mahboob Al Dosari, Assistant Executive Director Ambulatory Services 


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