Back to Top Skip to main content

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Image of two military personnel wearing masks The eyes have it...Lt. Courtney Rafferty (standing) and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Veronica Vargas of Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) Everett Optometry clinic, along with Mr. Cheryl Miller (not pictured) were commended for modifications made to reduce patient wait times and enhance patient centered care by the Military Health System (MHS) 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner (Official Navy photo).

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Most people don’t enjoy sitting in a waiting-room waiting for their doctor’s appointment.

Due to response to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients seeking routine eye exams through Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) Everett’s Optometry clinic were experiencing wait times upwards of 30 minutes prior to being called back to the examination room. 

However, through some creativity and ingenuity, the clinic has reduced patient wait time by 87% and increased access to care by 51.4% over the past six months.

The modifications implemented to increase access to care and shorten wait times resulted in NMRTU Everett being commended by the Military Health System 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

This recognition program annually recognizes initiative and commitment to the development of systems and processes to help MHS advance into a high reliability organization ensuring safe, reliable care for all patients and their families, promoting a culture that encourages learning, sharing, and continuous improvement. 

“I’m still in shock and humbled our project was selected for the award. I think it signifies that even at a smaller branch health clinic with fewer resources, including staff members and clinic space, there are always opportunities to take ownership and allow staff the creativity to challenge the culture of accepting things as ‘good enough,’” said Navy Lt. Courtney Rafferty, NMRTU Everett Optometry head and team lead for the clinic project entitled, ‘Increasing Access to Care and Minimizing Patient Wait Time to Enhance Healthcare Efficiency and Improve Patient Satisfaction.’

“Cheryl Morris, our Clinical Support Services receptionist, is incredibly helpful and always willing to try new things, keeping track of all the various requirements not only for Optometry but also Physical Therapy and Mental Health,” Rafferty said. “Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Veronica Vargas has been an incredibly dedicated member of the team. She is the only optician at the clinic and she has developed a level of expertise within Optometry over the past year tantamount to fourth year Optometry externs. Her curiosity and willingness to learn and make suggestions has been essential in our patient care efficiency and implementing new suggestions for continuous process improvements.”

Rafferty also cited Navy Hospitalman 2nd Class Abhiram Nair from the radiology department, who volunteered to assist in the Optometry clinic project.

“HM2 Nair and HM2 Vargas receive countless compliments from patients for their professionalism in customer service. We were also lucky to have Hospitalman Rachel Doyle from Medical Home Port who provided assistance and developed additional improvements like color-coding several hundred contact lens trials to prevent any defects. Lieutenant Commander Cameron Mathie also assisted in providing information for data collection and ideas for improving templating in increasing access to care,” added Rafferty.

Using the business improvement methodology of Lean Six Sigma to promote patient centeredness, Rafferty and her team not only improved overall patient-care, but also enhanced patient and staff satisfaction, while increasing efficiency and delivery of care.

Rafferty affirmed that understanding that patient wait times and access to care are two of the most significant components of overall patient satisfaction rates in health care. Striving to improve the patient’s experience is at the heart of patient centeredness in a high-reliability organization.

“While there is a general consensus that access to care is a valuable metric to track, many may not concede that patient wait times are as critical to monitor. Many studies found that patient wait time was the single biggest indicator for patient satisfaction outcomes in healthcare, regardless of how satisfied the patients are with the provider or care received. Additionally, reducing wait times for patients while increasing access to care requires a look at the efficiency of every single step involved in a patient’s flow through the clinic, so it challenges the staff to find opportunities at every step to improve efficiency,” Rafferty explained.

An unintended consequence of the improvement project was that it also supported the clinic’s response to the pandemic.

“Our project preceded the pandemic outbreak, but proved critical during COVID-19 in mitigating exposure by preventing patients from spending time in the waiting room shared with physical therapy and behavioral health,” Rafferty said. “The steps we took to improve the overall efficiency had the benefit of maintaining minimal patient exam flow times."

  “This project did not end when we submitted it,” Rafferty stated. “We continue to move forward and try new things. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with sailors who have demonstrated a willingness to suggest new ideas and take risks to find solutions where others may not even see a problem. I am incredibly proud that HM2 Vargas and the sailors have provided additional assistance. Regardless of rate or rank, continuous small changes over time can make a significant and meaningful difference.”

You also may be interested in...

Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health

Article
1/14/2021
Image of Mr. Adler with text: "Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health."

Jamie Adler, the lead for the DHA’s Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office, discusses the future of virtual health (VH).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Connected Health

COVID-19 hinders blood donations during National Blood Donor Month

Article
1/14/2021
Navy Capt. R. Wade Blizzard, commanding officer of U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, donates blood for the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Units Diego Garcia walking blood bank on Dec. 17, 2020. The walking blood bank is a list of eligible donors who can provide blood in case of emergency. (U.S. Navy photo by Navy Seaman Apprentice Stevin Atkins)

Life-saving blood is in high-demand by the Armed Services Blood Program, as the COVID-19 has negatively impacted donations.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Public Health | Coronavirus | Holiday Observances

COVID presents new set of challenges for DOD environmental health

Article
1/12/2021
Group of Marines, snowshoeing through the snow

One of the most important factors to take into account when maintaining one’s overall fitness is physical environment.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness in a Pandemic | Reintroducing Total Force Fitness | January Toolkit | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness

DOD Launches “My MilLife Guide” Text Message Program to Boost Wellness

Article
1/11/2021
The new My MilLife Guide program supports the wellness of the military community.

DoD has launched My MilLife Guide, a new program that sends text messages designed to help the military community boost overall wellness while navigating stresses related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Operation Live Well | Health Readiness

Navy corpsman provides multitude of support to hospital

Article
1/8/2021
Two military personnel, wearing masks, in a supply room looking at the shelves

“Thinking outside the box is what makes a great person, let alone a Sailor," Tie said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

DMRTI_EWSC Student Criteria

Fact Sheet
1/8/2021

A reference for potential EWSC students.

Recommended Content:

Emergency War Surgery Course (EWSC) | Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute | Combat Support

MTF facilities, markets set to resume transition heading into 2021

Article
1/6/2021
A military nurse, wearing a mask, prepares a needle for a vaccination

Butler says transition on track.

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Coronavirus

BACH healthcare workers and first responders vaccinated for COVID-19

Article
1/6/2021
Soldier gives a nurse a vaccine in her left arm

BACH now joins other Defense Health Agency military treatment facilities that have received the vaccine, marking the start of a phased-in vaccination program to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Toolkit

Countering seasonal depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Article
1/5/2021
Man with his head in his hands, sitting in front of a Christmas tree

SAD, or sometimes called seasonal depression, is a subtype of a major depressive disorder.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Wellness | Mental Health Care | Depression | Suicide Prevention

MHS operational innovations continue in battle against COVID-19

Article
1/5/2021
Two medical personnel, wearing full PPE, in an operating room

MHS innovations in 2020 include a new registry for real-time COVID-19 data and a system to free up hospital beds and protect patients from the disease.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | Innovation | Technology

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Publication
1/5/2021

This toolkit provides communicators across the Military Health System (MHS) with important information about the COVID-19 prevention and vaccination from the CDC to share with patients and health care professionals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit

Publication
1/5/2021

These messages are provided for you to use on your platforms with any of the images from the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Remote monitoring program enables COVID-19 patients to recover at home

Article
1/4/2021
Two medical personnel, wearing masks, looking at the contents of a home-based COVID treatment kit

The program equips COVID-19 patients needing additional monitoring with a home healthcare kit and 24/7 oversight from registered nurses to ensure a higher level of post-hospital care.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | Innovation

DHA’s IT innovation continues during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
12/31/2020
Three military personnel, wearing masks, in front of a computer screen

IT innovations keep pace despite COVID-19 road blocks.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | Technology | MHS GENESIS

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 49

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.