ROC the Future celebrates our employees’ best innovative ideas in action. Each ROC the Future project winner yielded important, measurable results for our health system, through innovation, cost savings, better patient outcomes or process quality improvement. This week, RRH is proud to honor the winning team from Evelyn Brandon Health Clinic (EBHC).
In 2016 and early 2017, EBHC wasn’t keeping pace with appointment requests for mental health evaluations. At the same time, the facility was operating at a consistently negative margin. This team’s efforts earned a ROC the Future award by addressing both issues.
The team at EBHC (part of Behavioral Health at RRH) tackled the situation two ways: The first was finding a scheduling process that would provide better coverage for intake appointments, and the second was finding creative ways to support patient wellness through a new mix of therapy sessions for existing clients.
Instead of scheduling intake appointments at various times throughout the day and week, a new block scheduling process was put into place in February 2017. By setting aside a three-hour block of time specifically for intake appointments, the staff could handle both scheduled appointments and walk-ins without jeopardizing staff time scheduled for follow-up appointments and group therapy sessions. By the end of 2017, the staff had not only accommodated all scheduled intake appointments, but also completed an additional 211 unscheduled, walk-in appointments for initial evaluations.
The team identified ways to improve its services to the center’s existing clients, too. They made changes to the visit mix, scheduling additional sessions for certain therapies, and making some visit types shorter in duration. By tweaking the visit mix this way, EBHC was able to increase participation in group therapy sessions and expand its services to couples and families.
Combined, this team’s solution yielded important gains: Intake appointments were increased by 12% (2017 vs. 2016). These additions, coupled with expanded services through a new visit mix, moved EBHC’s direct operating margin from negative to positive.