Understanding your current system

Taking a bit of time to gain a common understanding of your current ways of working will help prioritise the actions you take to maximise the physical space for outpatient appointments.

As a project team, map their current pathway and consider:

  • Referral process: How are referrals currently vetted? How many patients are discharged to patient initiated review? When was the last time you reviewed your waiting list?
  • Patient communication: What are patients told to expect before they arrive for their appointment?  How do they move around the site?
  • Appointment types: What appointment types in your current pathways require physical contact with a patient?  How many telephone or Near Me appointments are taking place? 
  • Clinic space: What other services do you share clinic space with?  What is the average turnaround time for a clinic room, including time to don PPE on/off and sanitise room?  What is the maximum capacity of the waiting area with 2m physical distancing? 
  • Appointment outcomes: What are the most common outcomes per appointment type?  On reflection, was the physical appointment required?  Could it have been delivered digitally or in community?

The project team should also consider:

  • Demand: How many referrals are there per week for each appointment type, new or return?
  • Activity: How many appointments are needed per week to meet demand?  How many appointments are actually taking place?
  • Patient experience: How do patients feel about the current service?  What is important to them?  Do they have any suggestions that could improve their experience?

After considering the current ways of working, identify any key changes that are a priority to address.