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  • Ways to improve the patient experience
 
August 2013
Learning from the patient experience
Aug 5, 2013 6:10 PM

In 2009, Mike noticed a sudden change in his wife’s short term memory. He was aware that her behavior may have been indicative of a stroke, and so he took Vickie to a nearby emergency room.

After being admitted to the hospital, she was put on medications to reduce her blood pressure and reduce stroke risk; her regular medications were put on hold until they could make a better assessment of her neurological condition. She required an MRI scan, but had to wait as other patients were deemed more critical. This institution had one MRI scanner, and there were only five slots per day that could be taken by inpatients. During the wait, she was quite uncomfortable due to the new medications, and having been taken off of her regular medications.

Mike recalled that in 2005 Vickie has been given an MRI scan when she was treated for a subarachnoid hemorrhage in the United States. That evening he contacted the hospital that would have Vickie’s scan from four years before, and they speedily prepared the image and sent it overnight. The doctor here was able to compare it to the eventual result of her MRI scan.

This situation demonstrated that had Vickie got her scan earlier, she could have been discharged home and resumed her regular activities and medications. Mike gained access to a breakdown of the medical costs, and determined that 92% of the money spent by OHIP did not help Vickie in this instance.

After consideration, Mike wrote the Patient Relations Manager at the hospital with his story. They agreed that had Vickie been scanned sooner, she could have resumed her regular activities much earlier. Unfortunately the hospital did not have the financial resources for another MRI scanner, nor the staff to run it.

Nonetheless the Patient Relations Manager discussed the recent implementation of a Medication Reconciliation Project which would address part of the issue. The project required their nursing staff to gather a list of all the medications that patients take at home. Each one would then be checked by the doctor and ordered or discharged upon admission. This would then be reviewed by a staff member whose responsibility it is to follow up with every patient and uncover missing information.

Following their communication, Mike felt that the Patient Relations Manager used Vickie’s experience to make speedy, effective changes to improve their process.

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