Making it easier for community health clients to navigate care in Tisdale

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Thanks to changes at Community Health Services in Tisdale, Kelsey Trail residents are now finding it easier to access the services they need.

Until recently, Tisdale’s Community Health Services (CHS) office in the Northeast Healthplex was a confusing place for many clients. The office is home to a variety of services, each with its own processes for serving people.

Poor signage was a big part of the problem. Clients didn’t know they were required to check in upon arrival regardless of which service provider they were seeing. As well, people weren’t aware of which services were available at the CHS office, or how to contact each with questions or to make an appointment. In some cases, clients visiting the office couldn’t find their way out when they were done.

Things were equally challenging for staff. In the Therapies area, there was no process for signaling when clients left the treatment rooms; this delayed getting beds cleaned and meant subsequent appointments didn’t start on time. With so many providers working out of one location, there was no way to quickly determine who was in the office and available to speak with clients. Because scheduling was still paper-based, clinic rooms were often underutilized.

As part of a recent Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW), a team of staff and clients introduced a host of changes that are already benefiting clients and staff. There is now signage posted outside the office listing all of the different services offered within. Each service area is clearly marked and footprints have been placed on the floor to help clients find their way around the office, including to the exit.

To ensure appointments run on schedule, the improvement team developed new standard processes for office visits and for disinfecting therapy beds. The introduction of a mobile injection medication cart is helping ensure clinic rooms are being optimally used, particularly to accommodate drop-in appointments for public health services.

An “availability board” displays the daily schedule for all CHS providers and a new online master scheduling system is now in place.

“The availability board will allow us to improve our communication with clients by being more aware of which providers are available for them to speak to.”
(Linda Walter, CHS staff member)

After the improvements have been sustained for 180 days, Kelsey Trail will look at how to apply them to other Community Health Services offices across the health region.

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