• 4/28/2024

    Doha: 27 April 2024: In 2022, Hamad Medical Corporation undertook an initiative to enhance the entire booking system, covering every aspect from referrals to appointment scheduling, including e-triage and in-calling processes. This effort reflects the corporation's ongoing commitment to improving patient access to healthcare services, ensuring a more streamlined and effective experience for all.

    Led by HMC’s Center for Patient Experience and Staff Engagement (CPESE), a set of system changes were implemented following the review to HMC’s Referral and Booking Management System (RBMS) with patients now seeing tangible improvements throughout as a result of the changes.

    Mr. Nasser Al Naimi, Chief of Patient Experience and Director of Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute explained that one of the cornerstones of HMC's success in optimizing outpatient care has been the strategic centralization and decentralization of its operations. “While the Referral and Booking Management System (RBMS) management is centralized, operations were decentralized across various healthcare facilities. This means that hospitals have more control of booking appointments for their patients and helps to avoid unnecessary delays. This approach ensures that the capacity of clinics matched the demand, effectively reducing waiting times for appointments.”

    To ensure the sustained success of their optimization efforts, an executive dashboard for process monitoring has been introduced. This dashboard provides real-time data on patients' access to care, enabling timely decision-making. Such data-driven insights have been crucial in maintaining the gains achieved through the optimization program.

    Ms. Khadija Al Shukaili, Executive Director of Nursing at Hamad General Hospital said: “The transformation of the RBMS involved a comprehensive reforming and operationalizing our specialty clinics efficiently through direct engagement of services’ stakeholders. This initiative was aimed at increasing utilization of our current capacity and prioritizing our patients’ needs and care. By strategically redirecting referrals in partnership with multiple stakeholders with HMC and PHCC, we have successfully streamlined patient demand and relieved considerable pressure on central Doha hospitals, especially Hamad General Hospital. These multiple initiatives and partnerships have ensured that patients receive the right care at the right service and facility thus reducing the appointment waiting time.”

    The RBMS enhancements have been rolled out across major HMC facilities, including the Ambulatory Care Center, Hamad General Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital, Al Khor Hospital, Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, Aisha Bint Hamad Al-Attiyah Hospital, Women's Wellness and Research Center, the Bone and Joint Center, and the Hamad Dental Center.

    The project is now concentrating on expanding RBMS services by incorporating Patient Care Assistants. This initiative aims to boost clinic utilization and streamline the process of booking follow-up appointments directly from the physician’s room, thereby enhancing overall patient care and efficiency.

    Mr. Al Naimi said the changes to the RMBS have delivered significant improvements and patients are now receiving their appointment dates faster than ever before, following referral to HMC. “The system changes are making a positive impact on patient care. We have significantly increased the number of patients having their appointment date confirmed within seven days of referral and significantly reduced the number of patients with pending referrals.”

    • A remarkable increase in the number of patients receiving their first appointment within seven days of referral. The figures rose from 3,315 in February 2022 to 10,723 in January 2024, an increase of 224%.
    • A significant decrease in the number of patients with pending referrals, dropping from 93,109 in October 2022 to 27,754 in January 2024, representing a 70% reduction.
    • An impressive 91% increase in the number of patients seen within two weeks of referral, with numbers rising from 6,815 in February 2022 to 13,005 in January 2024.
    • A 25% reduction in the referral-to-seen wait time for new patients, between January 2022 and March 2024.

    For appointment related enquiries, patients can call HMC’s ‘Nesma’ak’ customer service helpline on 16060, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.