As the third largest metropolitan area in BC, Kelowna faced a growing concern over the timely and appropriate treatment for people in their community with musculoskeletal issues (MSK).
Orthopedic surgeons, Drs John Oliver and Curtis Myden submitted a proposal to the SSC and received funding to undertake a quality improvement initiative to increase patient access at the Kelowna Bone and Joint Health. MSK care was offered through eight separate orthopedic surgical practices operating at this site.
While the scope of the work included developing a standardized approach through a shared EMR with a common method of managing new patient consultations, waitlists and waitlist data collection – the devil was in the details.
Dr. Myden noted “our work started with the need to create a strong, cohesive culture of ‘One Team’ that extended beyond members of the Kelowna Bone and Joint Health to include the broader community of providers.”
In the end, ten individual electronic medical records (EMR) were merged with standardized data definitions to support central intake, pooled and internal referral management, and to share physician coverage. In addition, the patient referral form was completely redesigned to provide data that adequately informed patient triage decisions.
Dr. Oliver said “As we progressed, we realized we needed to add to our team and invited two physicians to join – a physical medicine and rehabilitation sports medicine specialist and a primary care sports medicine physician – this helped greatly with triaging to the right care more quickly.”
Through this initiative, about 60% to 70% of MSK patients were identified as non-surgical patients and triaged to either the sports medicine specialist or the primary care sports medicine physician for care.
In addition, communications processes with referring physicians and patients were redesigned and included timely acknowledgement of referrals and appointment bookings, patient.