New: Access Transparency Tool Helps Providers Know Wait Times in Our Ambulatory Clinics
June 7, 2023
We heard you! In response to requests from community providers, Seattle Children’s will now publish regular updates about wait times in many of our ambulatory clinics. Taking the form of a two-page “access dashboard,” this tool will be available to all Provider News subscribers.
- Access Dashboard – June 2023 — Page 1 lists wait times by clinic; Page 2 lists conditions or symptoms we consider urgent for scheduling purposes.
We hope this information will support you in making decisions about referring to Seattle Children’s. We value every referral and hope you will continue to refer here whenever that is best for your patient.
Using the Access Dashboard
We want to take this opportunity to clarify some nuances regarding this new tool.
- New Patient Lag (NPL): Seattle Children’s, as well as many children’s hospitals across the country, measures access using NPL, which is defined as the median number of calendar days between referral creation in Epic (typically occurs within 18 hours of receiving a referral) and appointment date. We believe this is the most accurate representation of wait times.
- Triaging Appointment Requests: NPL represents median wait times, but we know some diagnoses are more urgent than others. On the second page of this tool, you will see examples of symptoms and conditions that are considered urgent and are scheduled to be seen sooner. These lists are not exhaustive but are the most common urgent presentations.
If you feel your patient’s referral is urgent, please mark the referral as such. If you have questions about a referral to Seattle Children’s or would like to check your referral status, please contact our Switchboard Operators team (at 206-987-2000), who can direct you to the appropriate clinic. If you have an urgent patient-related issue and would like to discuss the diagnosis or treatment, you can call the provider-to-provider line at 206-987-7777.
Better Transparency and Access
Providing timely access to ambulatory care in high-demand specialties is a challenge not just at Seattle Children’s but at many children’s hospitals nationwide. Seattle Children’s leaders and teams are working diligently to improve our systems, to think creatively about how to see new patients more quickly and to improve our transparency about current wait times.
Clinical Care Resources
We have worked hard to develop resources to support primary care providers in managing patient care while patients wait for their specialist visits or to help avoid them altogether. Here are some tools that are here to help:
- Algorithms: Our clinicians have developed 60+ condition-specific algorithms to help guide care and referral processes.
- Clinical Standard Work Pathways: A Clinical Standard Work (CSW) Pathway is a documented approach to the management and treatment of a particular population or clinical condition with the aim to improve quality of care through the standardization of management based on evidence in published medical literature and/or expert opinion. We have over 70 CSW Pathways available to support patient care. Pathways should be adapted to each specific patient based on practitioners’ professional judgment and their consideration of the unique circumstances and needs of each patient and their family.
- Grand Rounds and Continuing Medical Education: Our Grand Rounds presentations are open to all providers each Thursday at 8 a.m. and recordings are available for one year. Check out the upcoming calendar here. Our Physician Relations team also hosts continuing medical education events, most of which are recorded and available to view at any time — see our playlist here.
If you have questions about access at our specialty clinics not listed on the access dashboard, or have feedback on this new tool, you can reach out to your assigned Physician Liaison, who can get you the needed information.
- Patti Kilburn, Physician Liaison (North Puget Sound)
- Kenton McAllister, Physician Liaison (Eastern and Central Washington, Idaho and Montana)
- Erin Moya, Physician Relations Director (Alaska)
- Dawn Riley, Physician Liaison (South Puget Sound)