Stanford Urology Team Achieves 166% Surge in Timely Patient Assessments

In a leap forward for patient care, Dr. Ryan Sun and his team at Stanford Urology have achieved a remarkable increase in timely urgent patient assessments as part of the 6 month-long Clinical Effectiveness Leadership Training (CELT) program and the Realizing Improvement Through Team Empowerment (RITE) courses. Realizing Improvement through Team Empowerment (RITE) is a training program focused on supporting the efforts of frontline teams to complete improvement projects.  It is geared towards maximizing the likelihood of project success, efficient use of time and resources, and education of participants in a positive supportive environment. Focused on clinical quality improvement, Clinical Effectiveness Leadership Training (CELT) is intended for clinical and administrative leaders to obtain the skills and tools needed to become healthcare improvement leaders.

This bi-weekly program helped to gain training in leadership skills and quality improvement tools and apply those concepts in the implementation of a specific quality improvement project. For Dr. Sun, and his team members, Tara Kelly, DNP; Kathy Luong, RN; Julie Hart; Sophia Prendiville, and Stephanie Justo, the catalyst for their project was the recognition of a critical issue: reducing the wait times faced by urgent patients seeking urological care. As part of Stanford Urology’s commitment to putting patients first, we understand that the reduction of wait times for urgent patients isn't just about numbers; it's about transforming lives and minimizing suffering.

Implementing a series of strategic interventions, the Urology team swiftly addressed the root causes of the access challenges. Through careful planning and collaboration, the team restructured clinic workflows to accommodate the increased demand for timely assessments resulting in streamlining the identification and prioritization of urgent cases and optimized referral process.

The results of their efforts are nothing short of extraordinary. Within months, Stanford Urology clinics witnessed a staggering increase in the number of patients receiving timely urgent assessments. From a baseline of three urgent patients seen within 10 days of referral per week, the team achieved an astounding 166% increase, now averaging eight of such timely urgent assessments weekly. This signifies more than just numerical progress; it represents a tangible improvement in patient care and outcomes. "Every moment saved translates into potential lives changed, complications prevented, and burdens lifted. By expediting access to care, we're not just improving outcomes; we're restoring hope to those in urgent need." - Dr. Sun, Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford Urology.


The team also established a unified definition of urgent urological diagnoses, in addition to increasing the dedicated clinic slots for urgent diagnoses and voiding trials. Furthermore, the introduction of 48-hour reserved New Patient Visit slots has facilitated the prompt identification and utilization of available urgent slots. This proactive approach to appointment scheduling has also maximized clinic capacity and improved access to timely assessments for patients in need. Additionally, the project garnered significant buy-in from physicians, Advanced Practice Providers, and clinic staff across the department.

“The most significant aspect of participating in this project was the exposure to quality improvement at such an early stage in my pursuit of a medical career.  It was very encouraging to see firsthand that, although healthcare institutions may seem like relatively static entities, with the right tools and intensive collaboration, change for the better is very much achievable." - Sophia Prendiville, Clinical Research Coordinator at the Department of Urology. 

Looking ahead, the project aims to address broader issues of access and wait times in healthcare, extending beyond the boundaries of the Urology Department or Stanford. To achieve this objective, the team plans to expand the successful care model to additional clinic locations, including South Bay and East Bay facilities. By decentralizing care and reducing reliance on the Palo Alto clinic, the project hopes to ease patient burden and improve access to timely assessments for individuals residing in distant areas.

The project will also seek to decrease the risk of adverse clinical events and associated costs for patients, in addition to relieving strain on Emergency Department resources by reducing the frequency of non-emergent visits.