What do you get when you place staff from various teams within the Primary Health Care portfolio, AIM Alberta, Clinical Quality Improvement, Strategic Clinical Networks, the Alberta Medical Association, Process Improvement and Path to Care in one room for 3 days with Barb Boushon and John Lester?  The answer is AIM School!

AIM Alberta worked with Barb Boushon (one of the original consultants who along with Mark Murray developed AIM in Alberta) and John Lester (long-time Facilitator and AIM Faculty Member) to put together an interactive, and content-rich, educational opportunity. But why AIM School? Well, as our participants pointed out, patients are drowning in a reservoir of wait time and we can do better. All of the participants involved in AIM school have a similar vision of a healthcare system where wait times are minimal and Albertan’s are served effectively and efficiently. AIM School and the AIM principles can serve as a foundation from which to build a system wide advanced access model.

Some of the A’ Ha moments listed by participants included:

• Small changes to return visit rates (how often we see an individual patient) can mean a big difference in people being able to access care.
• It is important to look at continuity from a provider and patient lens (90% of a physician’s visits may be with patients from their own panel, but the patients may only go to their physician 50% of the time if access is difficult). The HQCA Panel Report is useful to primary care physicians in seeing this.
Queueing theory indicates that as the demand on a system increases and approaches full capacity, the backlog (delay) increases exponentially. Primary Care can use panel reports to figure out their utilized capacity by taking the number of appointments they saw and divide that by a calculated supply of appointments for the year. The sweet spot tends to be 85% – 90%.
• Healthcare is a flow system where multiple clinicians or clinics can be involved. Transitions between these clinics or practitioners (often seen as arrows on a flow chart) are like passing a baton and an inherent danger is that the baton gets dropped.
• Decreasing your backlog should be the last thing you do… first you must balance supply and demand, work on the return visit rate and improve office efficiency.
• The patient voice is vital. We have to work differently with patients to incorporate their voice in improvement work and engage with patients to support self-management to improve access. How might we accomplish this?
• We now have great partnerships across QI and access improvement teams in Alberta.

Working together, we can be stronger and reach a broader audience. After all, a movement isn’t created by one person/group but by a few people/groups joining in; this gives others permission to join. We can all be “first followers” for each other and give permission for other teams to join in!

If you’re curious about the detailed participant feedback on our first ever AIM School, or if you have any questions, please email us at info.aim@ahs.ca !