Innovation reduces waiting times at Mitchells Plain CHC
Today, the Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo visited the Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (CHC) to observe progress made by the facility to reduce waiting times, and manage patient-flow for the collection of chronic medication.
This phenomenal success is made possible by the implementation of the innovative Back-to-Back (B2B) system at the facility.
The B2B system currently operates through the Chronic Club, which schedules return clinic visits for patients on the last day of their medicine supply. Their medication is pre-packed and available for pick-up on arrival at the clinic.
With this system, stable chronic patients will effectively bypass the Pharmacy and simply collect their meds. This frees up the pharmacy department to deliver services to acutely ill and unstable chronic patients.
Overall waiting times at the Pharmacy have been reduced from 185 minutes to 76 minutes as a result. And waiting times for patients picking up pre-packed medication through the Chronic Club are now just 5 –10 minutes.
“The people have spoken and we have responded. This yet another example of how the Department of Health is responding to the needs of citizens. The innovative spirit shown by the facility’s management is exemplary and has already drastically improved the experience of our clients at the facility,” said Minister Mbombo.
Previously at the facility, there was a blurred distinction between acute and chronic services. The Chronic Club also imposed a cut-off of 90 patients a day, which meant that the majority of patients spilled over to the Out-Patient Department (OPD).
This system put strain on the Pharmacy to complete all prescriptions, including the Chronic Club’s 90 daily patient admissions, and all patients who made use of the Out-Patient Department.
This led to frustrated staff, and prolonged waiting times for patients to access their medication.
The Back-to-Back (B2B), was developed according to the unique demands of chronic disease management (CDM).
The new system still allows for dosages or medication regimens to be adjusted for stable patients, if any new information is ascertained during the clinic visit - e.g. new onset renal impairment, allergy reactions, or a clear contra-indication to current treatment.
If a patient is deemed to be no longer stable, they are temporarily removed from the Chronic Club to initiate alternate treatment. All stable patients access the pre-packaged medicine service, unless an assessment of their condition advises otherwise.
Dr Beth Engelbrecht, the Western Cape Department of Health’s Head of Department also congratulated the facility on its achievement: “We are proud of all our facilities who innovate despite the difficult environment and service pressures they are facing. We are specifically pleased when the innovation leads to improved patient experience, something the Department is working hard to entrench”.