(VIDEO - 4:40) My Care, My Voice finds service for patients with complicated health concerns
What do you do when results from medical test after medical test come back normal, while your health continues to further decline?
Kelsey Best, a former high school athlete who excelled in Javelin, knows all too well the challenges of having developed an unexplained illness that has greatly altered her life. As an elite athlete, placing 2nd at a national championship that led to the Canadian Junior Pan American Track & Field team and a sixth place finish at the 2005 Canada Games, the chances in her health were noticeable.
“I lost 30 pounds in four months,” said Best. “When I was put off work without a diagnosis at the age of 25, it was just so unreal; it didn’t make any sense to me.”
In 2014, Best became a patient at the Integrated Care Service (ICCS), a clinic for patients with complex chronic conditions and multiple illnesses. ICCS specializes in helping individuals to better manage their symptoms to improve quality of life and functionality, even without a diagnosis.
“They are in the health care system because they are seeking something, and so far their health needs have not been met,” said Tara Sampalli, health services manager, Integrated Chronic Care Service, Nova Scotia Health Authority. “So when patients were referred to our service after already seeing specialist after specialist and ending up having to wait, sometimes for years, that is not the care experience we want.”
Knowing the challenge and frustration of patients asking for help and not being able to receive timely care, Integrated Chronic Care Service introduced the My Care, My Voice initiative that has nearly eliminated patients’ wait time to be seen by the interdisciplinary team.
My Care, My Voice is a customer value-based initiative to remove wait times, improve early engagement and enhance health outcomes for patients with complex chronic conditions and multi-morbidities. By developing and applying value stream mapping (a lean management approach that looks at the current state to analyze how to create a more efficient future state), wait times have been reduced from longer than two years to less than two weeks in 2015.
This has led to increased patient engagement and satisfaction, as well as significant improvements in patient’s functionality by being able to be treated soon after referral.
“We wanted to include the patient voice in our care delivery process. The My Care, My Voice initiative was as simple as introducing a survey that asks patients about their hopes and needs, asking what they needed,” said Sampalli. “Is it a medical diagnosis? Is it the ability to get through the day? We looked at what they wanted and matched them to our services and resources to support them through that process.” said Sampalli.
For patients; the results have been dramatic.
“The difference is unbelievable. They’re so open minded, and that was the biggest and most helpful thing for me,” said Best.
Integrated Chronic Care Service has recently been recognized for the My Care, My Voice Initiative, recently receiving a 3M Health Care Quality Team Award at the Canadian College of Health Leaders National Awards Presentation in June 2015.