1887
Volume 2022 Number 1
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094

Abstract

: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all out-patients clinics shifted to telehealth visits1. However some patients still needed to be seen as face to face visit2, mostly through the new urgent referrals which were overbooked in the clinics due to the limited availability of slots3. The aim of this quality improvement project was to decrease the percentage of re-booked urgent referrals for in-person visits in the general paediatric clinics from 60% to 30% within 2 months. An intervention study started in October 2020 until present at the Out-patient Paediatric Department, Hamad General Hospital, Qatar. It included all general paediatric clinics, targeting urgent referrals. The intervention was to standardize the triaging process of urgent referrals (Figure 1) to guide the general paediatric team for booking patients to in-person visits within two weeks. Patients were contacted to confirm the date, time, and location of their visits. A total of 48 overbooking referrals in 11 clinics were screened with an average of 3 patients per clinic. 69% of the referral were re-booked to the next clinics. Implementing the above intervention methods, the number of re-booked urgent referrals went down to 28% (1 patient/clinic) within a 2-month period (Figure 2). : During the unprecedented time of the pandemic, patients still need to access healthcare services safely and in a timely manner. This study showed that using a standardized pathway, the target of decreasing the need to re-book urgent visits for in-person evaluations was achieved. Standardization reduces wastes in processes (Figure 1) and decreases variations that may lead to overutilization of the limited resources and negatively affects patient care. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the outpatient referrals processes are critical in ensuring the delivery of high-quality care.

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2022-01-15
2022-10-05
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References

  1. Spiegel, Jake. The Webcam Will See You Now: A Review of Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Era. EBRI Issue Brief. 528 (April 1, 2021).
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  2. Reed ME, Huang J, Graetz I, Lee C, Muelly E, Kennedy C, et al. Patient Characteristics Associated With Choosing a Telemedicine Visit vs Office Visit With the Same Primary Care Clinicians. JAMA Netw Open [Internet]. 2020 Jun 17;3:(6):e205873. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2767244 .
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  3. Schlenker A, Tadrous C, Ching G, Iovieno A, Nathoo N, Liu T, et al. Retrospective analysis of ophthalmology referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to prepandemic. Can J Ophthalmol [Internet]. 2021 Aug;56:(4):217–22. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0008418221000831 .
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