No one likes to wait—whether it’s in traffic, in line at the grocery store or in one of our Patient Service Centers. So it’s not surprising that patients say that having to wait is what they least like about the experience of having their blood drawn. Thanks to the work of two dedicated Quest Diagnostics Black Belts on the west coast, we are making major strides on improving the overall customer experience by cutting down on patients’ wait time.It all began after a long day of evaluating PSCs in Northern California. Adam Pearson and Taylor Carr sat down at a restaurant to eat and go over their notes. They had been surprised by the wait times they saw for patients at many of the PSCs. When they looked into the sign-in process, they discovered some confusion among those waiting because patients often signed in on different clipboards.
“This is a catalyst for providing a superior customer experience while simplifying the Phlebotomists’ work” - Tom Walsh, Quest Diagnostics Executive Director, Invigorate and Process Redesign
That’s when they came up with a grassroots idea that was dubbed “Cheetah.” Adam and Taylor realized that if they could install a central monitor for patients to sign in to, the PSC could better manage the sign-in process and at the same time clearly let patients know who was next.“We knew that this would take extensive coding work, which neither of us could do at the time,” explains Adam, who is now Senior Program Manager, Operational Excellence for Patient Services. “We had no idea if it would work, but we saw the potential to improve the experience for patients.”“We quickly pulled it together and got the OK to test it at a handful of PSCs,” says Taylor, who is Director of Business Process Redesign for Program Drive. “Patients gave us feedback in the morning and we made changes on the fly for the afternoon. That went well, so we began testing in additional Northern California PSCs.” A win-win for patients and Phlebotomists
“The system automates the patient sign-in process, manages the patient queue and shows them where they fall in the queue,” says Rob Moverley, Quest Diagnostics VP/GM, West Region. “Sometimes it’s the not knowing that is most frustrating for patients. Transparency is so important because they want to know where they are in line, how long they have to wait and that we know they’re there. This system provides predictable wait times. We recently expanded the pilot to about 20 locations, and patients are telling us they love it.”“Phlebotomists view this system as a major breakthrough,” says Ron Russak, Regional Director, Patient Services. “It relieves them of managing the patient flow and enables them to do what they do best—focus on the patient.” From new idea to national rollout
“Cheetah is a great example of how innovation works—small, passionate teams tackling a problem that we can scale up to benefit everyone,” says Tom Walsh, Executive Director, Invigorate and Process Redesign. “This is a catalyst for providing a superior customer experience while simplifying the Phlebotomists’ work. The plan is to roll out the program to 200 PSCs this year, with more to follow.”