BBC staff, students use expertise to help community health clinic improve patient care
August 15, 2012 College News - Bonnie P. Freudinger, an Engineer in the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center (BBC), and two of her student interns from Marquette University, used their process flow and problem-solving expertise to help the Bread of Healing Clinic improve management of its patient medical record system and speed up the time it takes patients to move through the clinic.
The Bread of Healing Clinic, located near 16th Street and North Avenue, provides care to low-income patients four half-days per week, and was looking for ways to better manage their patient charts and also more efficiently move patients through the clinic. The inefficiencies with the charts were due to an inconsistent process for managing and labeling them, and the patient flow problems were due to an inconsistent process for moving patients between specialists.
Freudinger and her two biomedical engineering student interns – Jodi Fails and Sarah MacCourtney – spent several hours at the clinic evaluating how clinic staff manage patient records and how the patients move through the clinic before developing a plan. The plan offered multiple ways for the clinic to make improvements:
Add large alphabet stickers of the first two letters of the patient’s last name on top of the medical record, which offers a consistent way to file/retrieve the records and reduces the chance of mixing up Robert James’ file with James Roberts’ file
Designate one person to handle the filing of patient records so they are maintained in a consistent, systematic manner
Help manage patient expectations by placing a time clock on the front desk that shows whether the clinic is running on time, or if behind, by how much
Provide each patient with a personalized checklist that helps ensure they see each specialist they are scheduled to see. This also offers the front desk the chance to verify the patient has seen everyone before he/she leaves and also schedule the next visit.
“I am so thankful to the staff and students in the Medical College’s Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center for the suggestions they offered on how we can improve the care and experience we offer our patients,” said Barbara Horner-Ibler, MD, Clinic Medical Director. “The assistance they provided and the timely fashion with which they addressed the issues has been immensely helpful.”
Freudinger said she enjoyed working on this project and using their skills to help others in the community.
“This isn’t a typical project for us, but we were so excited to be able to offer our assistance and expertise in a way that had such an immediate impact,” she said. “The Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center is a resource for the entire community, and it is nice to help others when we can.”