Reducing the Waiting Times in a Vascular Outpatient Clinic
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Improvement of waiting times and a reduction in numbers on waiting lists for outpatient care is a constant battle in healthcare in Ireland. Over the course of the year in 2016 there were some 8,000 patients waiting to be seen by the vascular team in an outpatient clinic. The waiting time of these appointments ranged from 0-18 months. Some of these are new patients, referred from GP or other sources, but a large percentage of these are returning patients who will continue to be seen on a yearly basis throughout their lifetime. In an attempt to reduce these substantial waiting lists, one cohort of patients became the main focus of this project plan; those who attend on a yearly or twice yearly basis for a verbal report of their imaging. These are the post Endovascular Aneurysm Repair patients. This group of patients are lifelong attendees of the vascular service, owing to the need to monitor their stent and any complications. Once their imaging is completed as an outpatient, they leave the hospital to return to OPD clinic at the next available appointment for a verbal report on their result. In many cases this verbal report on the result is negative for complications and the patients and staff might benefit from a more practical approach to this way of delivering information. It is worth remembering that post EVAR patients are lifelong patients of the vascular service. While 2013-2017 had 310 new patients these will be added to the current waiting list in an accumulative fashion. If these yearly visits to the clinic were reduced for those without complications on their imaging, and the information passed along in a more efficient manner, it may have a positive impact on the numbers of patients waiting months on an appointment.