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...

The evolution of military nursing

Article
5/8/2020
Image of vintage military nurses

A look back on nurses who blazed the trail for nurses today

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Nursing in the Military Health System

AFMES upgrades tech during COVID-19

Article
5/8/2020
Image of two technicians with a CT scanner machine

The new custom built scanner replaces a nearly 15-year-old scanner that was running on dated technology.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Coronavirus

MHS Nurse Advice Line proves to be invaluable during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
5/7/2020
Image of a military nurse on the phone. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Learn about the NAL and other ways to get advice on COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Nursing in the Military Health System

Defending the Homeland: 'I Am Navy Medicine, helping stop the spread of COVID-19'

Article
5/7/2020
Image of nurse wearing a mask

NMRTC Bremerton’s Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) is a microcosm example of nurses – and teamwork - in action.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Nursing in the Military Health System

DoD to honor nurses during National Nurses Week 2020

Article
5/6/2020
Image of an OR nurse with mask and protective suit

National Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6, and culminates May 12.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Nursing in the Military Health System

Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor Honors Nurses during National Nurses Week

Article
5/6/2020
Image of military nurses

The MHS theme of 2020 National Nurses Week is “Integrating for Excellence.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Defending the Homeland: DHA collaborates to further sequence the SARS-CoV-2 Code

Article
5/6/2020
Image of person testing genomes in a lab

Scientists race to understand COVID-19 building blocks and find a vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Be Cyber Vigilant and Avoid COVID-19 Scammers

Article
5/5/2020
Soldier sitting in front of two computer monitors

Take these steps to protect your personal information

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Cybersecurity Awareness

Mobility Airmen conduct historic first aeromedical evacuation mission using Transport Isolation System

Article
5/4/2020
Image of three people exiting an aircraft

The TIS is an infectious disease containment unit designed to minimize risk to aircrew, medical attendants, and the airframe.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement

MHS expedites COVID-19 and flu test results

Article
5/4/2020
Image of technician taking a nasal swab of a patient

Find out how to access results and stay safe

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

CDC maintains childhood immunization guidelines during COVID-19

Article
5/1/2020
A child receives a vaccine during a visit to the clinic.

What you need to know about getting your child vaccinated

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

COVID-19: Know symptoms and next steps to help ensure full recovery

Article
4/30/2020
Image of a soldier taking the temperature of another soldier. Click to open a larger version of the image.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army veterinarians post FAQ for pet owners to Army Public Health Center COVID-19 website

Article
4/30/2020
Woman laying on couch with her dog

Studies are underway to investigate human to animal transmission in multiple animal species.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Defending the Homeland: WRNMMC on front line of COVID-19 war

Article
4/29/2020
Image of soldiers and businessman in suit walking through an emergency shelter lined with beds and medical equipment

For patient and staff safety, WRNMMC started restricted access control points March 12.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Amid COVID-19, seasonal influenza still a threat to force readiness

Article
4/29/2020
Hospital Corpsman administers a flu shot to a navy officer.

New Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine available May 2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Influenza Summary and Reports | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Influenza, Southern Hemisphere
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25  ... > >> 
Showing results 361 - 375 Page 25 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.