I’ll be first to admit I’m no expert on advanced access, a key piece of Saskatchewan’s Clinical Practice Redesign (CPR) initiative. I got a crash course recently, when Catherine Tantau was in Saskatoon meeting with CPR coaches from around the province. Tantau is an internationally recognized authority on access, efficiency, and flow in health care; she played a lead role in developing the advanced access model.
I cornered Catherine for a short interview, after the workshop, but before she headed off for a yoga class on Broadway Ave. Here’s her elevator explanation of advanced access: the practice arranges its services so patients can get an appointment with a physician or provider of their choice, at a time that’s convenient for them – this might even mean they get in the same day. Talk about patient-centred care!
Catherine said a number of things that really stood out for me:
- Providers can deliver the best clinical care, technically speaking, but if a patient can’t get in to see his or her provider at a time that works for them, that care is ineffective – essentially it doesn’t exist.
- The way our health system has historically defined urgent is at odds with the real lives of patients. In this short clip, Catherine gives some examples:
- Providers want to see their patients when they want to be seen. Their frustration in not being able to do that is often the proverbial straw that brings them around to trying advanced access.
- Catherine says advanced access appears to be working particularly well in rural Saskatchewan. Basically, doctors reduce waits for appointments > patients get in to see them > continuity of care improves > fewer patients resort to showing up in emergency. Wins all around.
- Catherine’s face positively lit up when she related what doctors have told her, about why they like advanced access. Spoiler alert: doctors really do like their patients.
Patients dig it. Doctors do too. Advanced access is all about giving the people what they want.
I can’t see any downside in making this the new normal. What do you think?
PS – we’ll be posting the full interview(s) with Catherine on our YouTube channel. Stay tuned.