CNSI Outpatient Neurosurgery Team Improves Access and Patient Care

Premier Pulse     May 2019

Premier Health’s Clinical Neuroscience Institute (CNSI) recently created an Outpatient Neurosurgery Clinic that’s staffed and led by a team of Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) with oversight from our neurosurgeons. This has not only opened up more time slots for new patients; it has allowed patients to come into the practice without first completing a myriad of medical prerequisites.

"Patients can come to us now, and we will get them the appropriate workup and schedule them for imaging and anything else they need before they see our neurosurgeons. It saves our patients considerable time," said Nancy Hampton-Jones, clinical nurse specialist, neuro-oncology coordinator, and lead for CNSI's Outpatient Neurosurgery Clinic Team.

Because of this team, CNSI has been able to improve their neurosurgery scheduling process. Now, when a referral for neurosurgery comes in, it is reviewed to identify specific imaging, testing, and subspecialty needs, and appointments are then scheduled. Once the team has the imaging and everything else a patient needs, the neurosurgery appointment date will be scheduled within 48 hours. In the past, this process could have taken several weeks.

Another significant goal of the team was to create more consistent and ongoing communication with patients. "We call to let them know that their referral has been received and what steps we are completing. People are a lot more patient when they know what's happening in the process," said Hampton-Jones. Additionally, if a patient calls with a question or concern, they are connected to an APP on the team right away. The team works with CNSI physicians to get answers quickly, and patients have faster access to care. 

Hampton-Jones said that a typical day for the APPs in the Outpatient Neurosurgery Clinic might include working with the CNSI physicians to coordinate a patient's follow-up needs, getting imaging approved by insurance companies, or seeing post-op patients. They also ensure that patients are scheduled with a neurosurgeon with the specialized experience to meet the patients' specific needs. 

The team is also responsible for scheduling all follow-up visits. "We schedule follow-up visits before the patient ever leaves; otherwise, we would lose time trying to track them down later. If they need a six-week follow up, we get it scheduled for them before they leave," said Hampton-Jones. 

"We also spend a lot of our time on care coordination, family education, patient education, and making lots of phone calls,” said Hampton-Jones. “By working as a team, we get results faster and make sure patients get what they need. Our team, and our patients, amaze me.”

Back to the May 2019 issue of Premier Pulse

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