Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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...

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

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

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

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

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

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

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

DOD launches "First Aid For Severe Trauma" for HS students

Article
9/2/2021
High school students at a conference in Orlando, Florida

DOD's National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health launches "First Aid For Severe Trauma" designed for Grades 9-12, with Red Cross, Homeland Security.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

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

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | Deployment Health

New Flag and Patch Symbolize Growth at the Defense Health Agency

Article
8/19/2021
Service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy display the new Defense Health Agency patch following a reflagging and repatching ceremony at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church.

The DHA will reveal a new flag and seal in a ceremony August 20 to signify the unity of all services under one joint combat support agency.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | Combat Support

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 29

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.