Patient access initiative continues to generate positive results among patient families

July 3, 2018

“Thanks to online scheduling, it’s super easy to make appointments through MyChart now,” wrote a Texas Children’s family. “The past several times we’ve been here, we have been in and out in less than 45 minutes with the same level of quality and care. It seems like they heard our concerns loud and clear, and it shows that they care.”

This touching comment from a patient family in our Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cinco Ranch location is one of several inspiring patient testimonials that demonstrate our continued commitment to improving patient access.

Several months ago, Texas Children’s Access and Patient Scheduling Task Force conducted a baseline assessment of the hospital’s current landscape which revealed several opportunities to improve access for our patients. The Task Force proposed more than 30 recommendations and prioritized which ones would be implemented first.

Since implementing these solutions in four waves across different specialties throughout the system – the first wave went live on March 1 and the fourth wave went live on June 1 – patient families have noticed a positive difference.

Below are several impressive results during the implementation of Waves 1 to 4:

Increase appointment capacity: After evaluating 944 provider templates, we found extra slots where physicians could see patients for a duration of four hours. By standardizing clinic sessions for all specialties, over 53,000 new appointments were added to the system annually, 44 percent of those offering availability for new patients.

MyChart activation: Since launching MyChart Madness in March, Texas Children’s has seen a significant increase in MyChart activation rates. In October 2017, we had less than 8,000 monthly activations compared to over 18,000 in March. To date, Texas Children’s has a total of 72,006 same-day MyChart activations. A similar competition will be launched in July to ensure we’re getting as many patients to sign up on MyChart as possible by the end of FY18.

Online scheduling: More than 100 patients have already used this online feature to schedule their appointments. Six specialties have gone live with online scheduling for MyChart users. Nine more specialties will go live on July 23 and by September all specialties will offer online scheduling. Texas Children’s has partnered with a vendor to set up an online scheduling infrastructure for new patients who do not have a MyChart account.

Fast Pass Waitlist: Since implementing an electronic waitlist in MyChart that automatically offers up available appointments to patients desiring a sooner appointment, over 200 patients have accepted. On average, patients are getting into earlier appointments 60 days faster. So far, 16 specialties have gone live with this new feature.

One of these patients who benefitted from the electronic waitlist feature on MyChart was 10-year-old Aiden Blancas whose mother was able to get him into a dermatology appointment a lot sooner than expected.

“My son’s original appointment date was scheduled for September 4, but when I got an electronic notice via MyChart asking me if I wanted to accept an appointment in June, I accepted it,” said Monica Blancas. “While we usually go to the medical center for appointments, I didn’t mind driving a little further for my son’s appointment in Katy if it meant that I could get him in to see a doctor a lot sooner than originally scheduled.”

While improving patient access at Texas Children’s continues to remain a priority, more system-wide solutions are being considered that will further enhance patient access across the hospital system.

“Since implementing our patient access initiative, we have made significant progress to ensure our patients get into our system according to their urgency and timeline,” said Texas Children’s Assistant Vice President Carrie Rys. “We plan to continue these efforts into the next fiscal year with additional goals aimed at improving patient access.”