With little time to plan, staff at our behavioral health outpatient clinics had to respond quickly to the pandemic’s impact on providing care to patients. The best answer was to continue offering services through telehealth technology, also known as video visits.
Innovation under Pressure
The shift to video visits meant developing new workflows, adjusting to technology and supporting staff and patients with new tools, like Zoom. Fortunately, our practice management staff have embraced a Lean Six Sigma approach of continuous process improvement, called Operational Excellence (OpEx), that is used widely across the MaineHealth system.
“The beauty of OpEx is that it uses a number of process improvement tools that make it easy to identify what isn’t working, why it isn’t working and uses data to lead us to solutions that make our procedures work better for everyone,” said Paula Taylor, director of practice management.
The practice management team used key performance indicator (KPI) boards, visual management methods and daily huddles to build new workflows and ways of scheduling, documenting and communicating with patients. In a matter of weeks, the team was instrumental in leading the transition from in-person office visits to telehealth and championed a goal to increase telehealth visits by 50% in six months. Not only did they meet that goal but served 1,000 patients each week on average!
Team members made countless individual calls to patients who needed help learning Zoom. In collaboration with our case management team, they created an outreach system, for patients struggling to access technology and leveraged their local KPI boards to share improvements with leaders.
“The pandemic made it even more important for our patients to get the care they needed, and this team really stepped up to make sure that happened,” said Kelly Barton, president. “I am so proud and feel incredibly fortunate to have them as part of our team.”
Photo Top: Practice Management team proudly show their award (L-R: Denise Day, Kathy Penney, Jeanne Dion, Lisa Beeckel, Paula Taylor, Whitnie Plummer and Michelle Curtis)