Planning for the Future

Care of the Future

In the ambulatory health care setting, consumers are moving from traditional primary care delivery models to urgent care, virtual video visits and online chats with doctors and mid-level practitioners. Dignity Health has been proactively incorporating these extended primary care access points into our ambulatory strategy. With our Care of the Future initiative, we are building a next-generation platform to be able to rapidly test and implement positive changes for how our patients, providers and team members experience ambulatory care.

The Care of the Future team has a simple vision: Exceptional Health Care, Exceptional Experience.

This ambitious initiative is designed to achieve breakthrough performance for clinical measures, operations and the patient experience by taking a quantum leap in the modernization of care team structure, workflow and physical space to meet and exceed the needs of the changing health care landscape. This enterprise-wide initiative impacts the more than 200 ambulatory sites.

The team includes more than 50 members, representing ambulatory front-line staff, patients, providers, operations, real estate, IT, materials management and the Offices of Digital and Innovation. While standard measures of patient satisfaction, quality and financial impact are tracked, this effort is also identifying how to make more time for meaningful human interaction, which is a key driver for patient, provider and staff engagement.

Early Successes

The team first convened in March 2017 to create a new paradigm of ambulatory delivery, and today, seven new sites follow the design principles of Care of the Future, with more slated to go online in 2019.

A Care of the Future site takes into account apps for scheduling and registration/sign-in kiosks, minimizes the traditional waiting area, and focuses on efficiency — ensuring that providers have optimal time and human contact with the patient.

The redesign eliminates unnecessary steps for patients, staff and providers. At one location, medical assistants were previously walking an average of 1,000 steps per patient. Following the Care of the Future workflows, it is now 250 steps per patient, saving 3.5 hours of walking time per medical assistant per week. Through the process, the Care of the Future team also found that providers need less physical space, which translates into less real estate per provider and lower overall costs.

By capitalizing on these workflows, the Care of the Future model strives to have providers working at their maximum clinical level. And that means an enhanced provider — and patient — experience.

Increased Capacity

  • Calls to the clinic reduced by 25 percent
  • Patient waiting (non-value added) time reduced by 50 percent
  • Room-utilization rate doubled

Improved Engagement

  • Average provider EHR “tasks” reduced by 50 percent
  • Time between patient and caregiver increased by 30 percent