Decreasing waiting time for new patients at a community pain clinic

Ahmad Elsharydah, Jennifer Wu, Frederick C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Long waiting time to access pain medicine clinics poses a significant mental, physical, and socioeconomic burden on patients with chronic pain. This project aimed to develop interventions to reduce the waiting time for new referrals. We used the define, measure, analyze, improve, control (DMAIC) method. Clinic data were analyzed over a 6-month period. Pilot interventions were then implemented in one provider’s clinic over a 3-month period. Outcome measures included the number of new patients seen, number of “no shows,” and number of patients on the waitlist. Late cancellation and no shows were the main causes of the clinic lost time. Interventions to reduce unutilized clinic time were implemented, including making appointment reminder calls, identifying cancellations in advance, and adding slots on the provider’s template to account for cancellations and no shows. These interventions resulted in a 16% decrease in no shows, a 60% increase in new patients seen, and a significant 47% reduction in the number of patients on the entire clinic waitlist. These findings suggest that simple procedures and changes in the clinic identified via a quality improvement process can significantly improve clinic time utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBaylor University Medical Center Proceedings
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • clinic waitlist
  • DMAIC
  • pain clinic
  • quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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