Huntsville, AL - HAPPI Health believes processeswhich are not studied or measured cannot be improved. For that reason, theyroutinely study the door-to-door patient experience and improve it, thusincreasing the availability of quality affordable care to the patients in theircommunity. In March of 2022 HAPPI significantly enhanced its ability to impact thepatient experience by installing a software-driven system called SyncTimes.This addition improved operational efficiency through real-time locating ofstaff and equipment, facilitated effortless communication and data capture, andallowed for easy yet detailed process improvement analysis.
“We decided we wanted to work smarter, which makes everyonehappier” says Ann Kepner, Chief Operating Officer at HAPPI. Gone are the dayswhen they placed staff in the hallways with clipboards and stop watches.SyncTimes measures their room utilization data and does much more.
The SyncTimes system operates through tablets inside andoutside of exam rooms and is monitored on flat screen Flowstation displays inteam room areas. In addition to indicating when a patient is in the room, thetablets also include real-time locating sensors that automatically sensebeacons worn by the providers and staff as they move through the clinic. Thesedevices help improve the overall work environment by effortlessly capturing anddisplaying room utilization data such as:
The three greatest areas of improvement after theinstallation of SyncTimes have been:
The real-time display of patient alone time has caused staffengagement with the patients to increase, leading to happier patients at HAPPIHealth. But, according to Primary Care Physician and Director of Quality GeorgeKyle, MD, the system helps in many other ways. “The system takes the data thatis collected and displayed during each clinical day and stores it for reviewlater. It is so easy to gather and analyze data from yesterday, last week andlast month that we now incorporate it into our daily huddle” says Kyle.
The room tablets also enhance internal communication. Eachdevice is loaded with patient care plan icons that allow providers and staff toquickly call for assistance, order lab work or request a translator from asimple touch of an app on the tablet inside the room. Of the scores of icons,the one most commonly used, alerts the providers when and where a patient isready to be seen. The staff no longer must search the clinic for a provider.The provider’s most frequently used icons initiate calls for the MedicalAssistant, the Social Worker and for Point of Care Testing. Searching for staffhas been eliminated. According to Dr. Kyle, this simple process speeds up thetransition time between providers and staff and reduces patient alone time andover all time in the room. Beyond that, it gives the patient’s a sense ofsecurity because the staff knows where patients are and how long they have beenwaiting. Additionally, according to Kepner, “The implementation of this newtechnology has made it much easier for our staff to follow and accomplish ourstrategic plan. These new simple adjustments in our process have quicklyimproved both the staff and patient experience. That is most gratifying to me”.
“Wow – you guys arehigh tech” is a common quote among patients these days. That statement makesDr. Kyle chuckle when he remembers that training on the system only took a few minutes,and everyone became proficient at using SyncTimes after only a couple of weeks.“It’s really plug and play,” says Dr. Kyle.
Two unexpected benefits of the recent process changes havearisen. First, the staff and providers at HAPPI Health have noticed thatpatients are now arriving on time or early for their appointments at a higherrate than before. It seems patients have noticed the decrease in wait times andtotal visit times. This has motivated the patients to act as a partner in theprocess like never before. According to Kepner, a second unexpected benefitinvolves recruiting staff and providers. “Numbers don’t lie,” says Kepner, “andour numbers tell prospective employees that we care about our patients and ourwork environment.” Adds Dr. Kyle, “All the healthcare data in the world isuseless unless it improves quality and security from the patient’s perspective,and SyncTimes definitely does that!”
About HAPPI Health
HAPPI Health is a non-profit healthcenter designated as an FQHC Look-alike February 1, 2020. HAPPI has been caringfor patients since 2010 and offers primary care, urgent care, and behavioralhealth services within a mile of Huntsville Hospital, and has a satelliteclinic in north Huntsville. As a health center, HAPPI is here to serve thecommunity's health care needs and has been a community resource since June of2010. HAPPI initially began as a clinic serving pediatric patients. Over thepast 12 years, HAPPI has expanded numerous times to better serve the needs of thecommunity.
The mission of HAPPI is we are dedicatedto the highest quality and accessible care for our patients. This missionrequires a dynamic organization which embodies excellence in patient care andeducation, adherence to strict and ethical standards and a keen responsivenessto our patient’s needs.