Skip to main content

Military Health System

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:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

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...

Mental Health Office Helps AUAB Members Maintain Readiness

Article Around MHS
8/30/2022
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Leonardo smiles for photo

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is comprised of physical, social, spiritual and mental fitness. Being physically fit to fight and maintaining a war fighter spirit are crucial to completing the mission.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Spiritual Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Depression | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Anxiety | Stress | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Mental Health is Health Care

NAMI Recompression Chamber Supports Area Training Missions, Operations

Article Around MHS
8/29/2022
Military personnel demos compression chamber

Scuba diving can be extremely dangerous, and it’s possible for divers to develop adverse medical conditions and injuries while performing underwater operations. A common diving injury is decompression sickness (DCS), also referred to as the “bends”.

Recommended Content:

Public Health

Corpsman Care during Atlantic Ocean ops on MSC ship

Article Around MHS
8/4/2022
Military medical personnel performing emergency surgery

There’s a reason why U.S. Navy independent duty corpsmen are found assigned on isolated platforms from the wide expanse of the Indo-Pacific Theater to the far reaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency: What Airmen and Guardians Need to Know

Article Around MHS
8/4/2022
Microscopic view of monkeypox virus

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency on July 23. With more than 4,000 cases in the United States, Airmen and Guardians should know the risks and how to stay safe.

Recommended Content:

Monkeypox | Public Health

Wellness Fair Showcases Ample Resources at Naval Hospital Bremerton

Article Around MHS
8/2/2022
Military personnel demonstrating a grip therapy

Naval Hospital Bremerton hosted a holistic Wellness Fair in late July 2022.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Total Body Preventive Health - Dental, Medical & Mental | Nutritional Fitness | Health Readiness Support

Soldiers Not Immune to Damage of Sun's Rays

Article Around MHS
7/28/2022
Soldiers not immune to damage of sun’s rays

Some soldiers have a greater risk for developing skin cancer than others. For July’s UV Safety Awareness month, soldiers should be aware of their risks and how to reduce their chances of skin cancer.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Summer Safety

Mind-Body Mental Fitness

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Mountain view

The lifestyle of active duty service members and their families comes with unique stressors that can often be compounded by living overseas. What most people don’t realize is that stress is a normal part of life. The feelings of stress are just indicators that something in our life needs attention, and even presents a possibility for positive change and growth.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Stress | Mental Health is Health Care

Teddy Roosevelt, Navy Medicine, and the Birth of Physical Readiness

Article Around MHS
7/25/2022
Military personnel in exercise drill on deck of Navy ship

Today’s U.S. Navy espouses a “culture of fitness,” and “physical readiness,” but this was not always the case. In the early 1900s, many including the president himself, Theodore Roosevelt, were appalled by the lack of physical conditioning in the Navy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness

Family Care Plan Sustains Unit Readiness

Article Around MHS
7/20/2022
Military personnel hugs family member

A Family Care Plan (FCP) is a method by which the Army ensures a Soldier’s Family is taken care of when the Soldier is absent due to military requirements.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Power Plate: Eat to Fuel Your Performance

Article Around MHS
7/19/2022
Infographic for Power Plate

Food is our secret weapon. When planned and executed well food can supply everything our bodies need to thrive, whether we’re running a marathon or taking a rest day.

Recommended Content:

Performance Nutrition: Fuel Your Body and Mind | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Nutritional Fitness

Medical Airmen Crew Ambulance, Keep Mission Ready

Article Around MHS
7/18/2022
Military personnel inspect an ambulance

Airmen with the 75th Medical Group here are staying mission ready by crewing Hill AFB’s ambulance service alongside firefighters from the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Fire and Emergency Services Flight.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Emergency Preparedness and Response

Dental Health Aboard USS Tripoli

Article Around MHS
7/14/2022
Military dental personnel working on a patient

The USS Tripoli is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Dental Health | Global Health Engagement

Fort Hunter Liggett First in Army to Receive Prehospital Whole Blood Transfusion Capability

Article Around MHS
7/14/2022
Military medical personnel standing by EMS vehicle

Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett’s remoteness, and the robust efforts of Fire Captain Devon Haggie allowed the installation to be the first in the Army and Department of Defense to receive the life-saving capability to transfuse whole blood by its Emergency Medical Service (EMS).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Readiness & Combat Support | French Freeze-Dried Plasma Use in the DOD

Medical readiness exercise provides real world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

Article Around MHS
7/11/2022
Medical readiness exercise provides real-world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

The Utah Army National Guard Medical Detachment, the U.S. Army 30th Medical Brigade, and the Royal Moroccan Army collaborated to provide real-world humanitarian assistance to the local population here while simultaneously conducting medical readiness training during African Lion 2022.

Recommended Content:

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief | Health Readiness & Combat Support

137th SOMDG Medical Personnel Conduct SPP Visit to Azerbaijan

Article Around MHS
7/8/2022
Military medical personnel conducting simulation

Members of the Air Force's 137th Special Operations Medical Group (SOMDG) traveled to Azerbaijan to conduct a combat casualty care knowledge exchange with Azerbaijan Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) Battalion doctors and medical noncommissioned officers during a State Partnership Program (SPP) visit to Baku, Azerbaijan in late June.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 20, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery