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Improving access to care at autism treatment centers: a system analysis approach

TitleImproving access to care at autism treatment centers: a system analysis approach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsAustin, J, Manning-Courtney, P, Johnson, ML, Weber, R, Johnson, H, Murray, DS, Ratliff-Schaub, K, Tadlock, AMarquette, Murray, M

Lead Author
June Austin

Study Aims and Objectives
To complete a systematic assessment of two pediatric autism spectrum disorder treatment sites that are a part of the AIR-P network to improve service delivery and reduce delays and wait times.

Methods- Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) were chosen to participate in a year-long access improvement initiative. Site teams worked in collaboration with Mark Murray and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in improving access to medical care. The teams used a 5-step approach to identify sources of delay, maintain consistent data collection, and to address root causes of access issues. The gathering of data was an important step in this process and allowed the groups to make timely result-driven changes to their systems.

Results- Main Findings
The CCHMC team reduced waitlists and appointment delays by changing the structure of diagnostic appointments, decreasing system complexity, and working to reduce any backlog that was present. NCH also reduced delays by standardizing clinic hours for providers and scheduling all patients off the waitlist, even if their appointments were in the far future.

Conclusion- Summary Statement
This study demonstrated that with systematic review and modification of clinic practices, clinic leaders can substantially lessen delays in care. Decreasing system complexity, and simplifying clinical models will improve access. Setting clear, trackable and enforceable expectations for clinician and visit availability also translates directly to faster, more accessible care for patients.

PubMed ID26908470