Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic made it necessary to practice social distancing and limited in-person encounters in health care. These restrictions created alternative opportunities to enhance patient access to care in the ambulatory setting. We hypothesized that by transforming clinics into centers that prioritize procedures and transitioning ambulatory appointments to telehealth, we could establish a secure, streamlined, and productive method for providing patient care. Methods: Clinic templates were restructured to allow the use of the physical space to perform procedure-based clinics exclusively, while switching to virtual telemedicine for all nonprocedural encounters. Staff members were given specific roles to support one of the patient care modalities for a given day (Procedures vs. Telehealth). Performance and patient satisfaction metrics were collected between two periods of time defined as P1 (February-June 2019) and P2 Post-COVID (February-June 2020) and compared. These served as proxies of periods when the clinic workflow and templates were structured in the traditional versus the emerging way. Statistical analysis was performed using bivariate analyses. Results: The percentage of procedures performed among all in-person visits were higher in P2 compared to P1 (45% vs. 29%, p < 0.001). Although total charges and relative value units were lower in P2, the overall revenue generated was higher compared to P1 ($4,597,846 vs. $4,517,427$, respectively). This increase in revenue was mainly driven by the higher relative income generated by procedures. Patient experience, reflected through patient-reported outcomes, was more favorable in P2 where patients seemed more likely to “Recommend this provider office” (90% vs. 85.7%, p = 0.01), report improved “Access overall” (56% vs. 49%, p = 0.02), and felt they were “Moving through your visit overall” (59% vs. 51%, p = 0.007). Conclusions: Our data suggest that reorganizing urology clinics into a space that is centered around outpatient procedures can represent a model that improves the patient's access to care and clinical experience, while simultaneously improving operational financial strength. This efficient care model could be considered for many practice settings and drive high-value outpatient care.
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Copyright 2023, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
- outpatient care
- patient experience
- patient satisfaction
- urology clinic