LVP - web

Reducing barriers to appointment-keeping to ensure continuity of care

L V Prasad provides comprehensive and equitable eye health services to tens of thousands patients per year at over 100 locations. Our first project applied a systems lens to the challenge of improving visit efficiency in outpatient eye clinics, by tracking patient flows and queue lengths by time of day, and examining differences across different clinics within the hospital. The team suggested specific steps for improving flows and reducing bottlenecks.

At its high-volume Centre of Excellence, the average patient wait time was over two hours and often much longer. No-shows were also a problem. In order to generate new ideas that the hospital could use to improve patient experience and clinical outcomes, LVP sought to understand how external factors like patients arriving late impacted wait times and why patients did not arrive on time.

By collecting and analyzing data on why patients arrived late to their appointments and interviewing patients in depth, the GlobalHealth Lab student team identified perceived and practical barriers to appointment-keeping. Using data collected from 395 patient surveys designed and run by the students, the team developed strategic recommendations to improve on-site patient experience and operational efficiency. These included changes in booking and scheduling processes; fostering a shared recognition of the importance of making appointments versus walking in; educating patients on different ways to make an appointment; and implementing an appointment reminder system. Improving the experience of waiting through entertainment and better communication from staff updating patients while they waited could further help to reduce frustration. Such changes could increase patient follow-up rates as well as operational efficiency.