What is AIM Alberta?

AIM Alberta is a quality improvement initiative that enables healthcare teams to achieve their potential. AIM equips these teams with the tools to identify roadblocks to success and create their own solutions to enhance patient access, efficiency, patient-centered interactions and clinical care.

The name AIM comes from the acronym Access Improvement Measures, since the program was designed to focus on enhancing access to, and efficiency of, primary and specialist services as well as the transitions in care between these services.

The program identifies strategies to optimize the outcomes and experience of patients, satisfaction of providers and more efficient use of health system resources. To do so, AIM provides educational products and services for healthcare teams and improvement facilitators/advisors to advance their improvement capabilities.

For more information, contact us.

Why would I use AIM?

AIM applies proven principles to drive healthcare improvement that are provider, team and patient focused. Over the years working with primary and specialist care teams, AIM has enabled clinics and program teams to:

  • Improve access for patients by reducing wait times for, and at, appointments.
  • Create better control over scheduling.
  • Build high functioning clinical teams that successfully make and sustain change.
  • Create opportunities for teams to increase patient and provider satisfaction.
  • Drive team based care to ensure patients are seen at the right place, by the right provider, at the right time.
  • Use measurement to foster a stronger understanding of clinical operations and embed those into everyday business.

When you’re looking to identify ways to enhance access, build a strong clinical team and provide professional development to your improvement facilitators, clinic managers or physician leadership, contact AIM to co-create solutions to advance your business priorities.

Who benefits from using AIM?

Patients, providers and the healthcare system as a whole. AIM’s approach is focused on core areas of the Patient’s Medical Home. The ways we have designed our products and services helps PCNs and specialist programs achieve business planning priorities, create an increasingly engaged workforce with transferrable skills that support healthcare improvements for member practices. With a more satisfied workplace operating efficiently, the result is enhanced relationships with patients and reduced complaints. Patients feel respected as transitions of care within both primary and specialty services occur seamlessly.

How can I join the AIM movement?

Having a member of your healthcare team become trained in the principles of AIM is the best way to join the movement. If this is not possible, AIM offers other ways to begin improving access. From board meeting presentations, to self-directed e-learning, workshops for clinic staff and learning collaboratives, contact AIM at info.aim@ahs.ca to discuss the best option for you.

Tell me about AIM collaboratives. How have they evolved?

A learning collaborative provides a structured process that enables teams to take practical steps toward applying changes in their practice that are proven to result in improvement. Along the way, practice improvement teams are guided by faculty and facilitators to identify and test changes that team members identify as important to their practice.

A learning collaborative is a great way to generate momentum for change. Whether it be in a PCN, a specialized service area or a group of private practices working towards a common goal, the learning collaborative empowers all participants to be a part of the process together. It creates an ‘all teach all learn’ experience and is proven to enable successful healthcare improvements in important aspects of care delivery like enhanced access and care transitions.

For a small representative group of the healthcare team, the process usually lasts about 12 months with four ‘out of office’ days to attend learning sessions.

For more information on the ‘collaborative curriculum’ and what to expect to learn from the experience, email us.

What if I do not want to be part of a collaborative?

Due to the design of the collaborative model and the time commitment, we recognize that a collaborative may not be the right approach for everyone. Therefore, AIM has designed alternative ways for practice improvement teams and PCNs or programs to apply the key principles in practice. First, we’ll meet you where you’re at.

AIM’s group of senior improvement consultants have expertise in business planning, process improvement, change management, measurement and evaluation, and team development. If the prospect of a more accessible, integrated practice team piques your curiosity, we’ll be happy to discuss options to make this possible.

Once you start working with us, and our faculty team, you’ll be hooked, and change will be easy.

How do we ensure positive change is achieved and maintained?

AIM recognizes that change is not always embraced, nor easy. We specialize in creating sustainable spread strategies that are based on size and scale of your project/program/strategic planning process. AIM can work with your leadership team to co-create a spread strategy for any healthcare improvement. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.


How does AIM help build the Patient’s Medical Home?

The primary goal of AIM is to ensure that every patient-provider relationship is as strong as possible. This means ensuring your patients see you when they need care. This continuity is the key to good outcomes for patients and enhanced satisfaction for patients, providers and staff. It’s also essential for a high functioning medical home.

When you work with AIM, we help you study your panels, work together as a highly functioning care team, build confidence in staff to make and sustain changes that can make a difference to patient lives, and provide the basis for enhanced access and care coordination. Without adopting key AIM principles, it may be difficult to implement a fully functional medical home.

Why would I do a Patient Medical Home assessment?

A medical home assessment evaluates PCN level processes, structures, activities and programs related to PCN Evolution and Medical Home concepts. The overarching purpose is to provide a sense of where your practice or PCN is at compared with where you would like to be. As such, the results of the assessment are yours only and are designed to support action, or business planning, for improvement. Similarly, primary care practices benefit by reflecting on their current state, considering what is important to the team and identifying priority areas to focus on.

If you’re unsure or would like some direction on next steps, we can help by doing the assessment with you or working with you to consider some strategic actions that could be taken to advance towards a medical home.

What information is gathered in a Patient Medical Home Assessment?

The assessment helps your team determine, together, where your practice is currently at compared to an ‘accredited’ medical home. This looks at aspects of the way your practice is organized in terms of processes (e.g. HR and hiring practices) to clinical care delivery (e.g. you have a maintained, verified panel and use your care team to discuss and determine your patient’s care needs). It’s a snapshot in time to help you consider what priorities might be next for your practice or PCN to achieve its goals.


How do I complete a Patient’s Medical Home Assessment?

Contact us. There is also a facilitator’s guide that can be reviewed in advance so you get a sense of what the process might be like for your clinic or PCN team.


Why is measurement important?

Understanding what is important to you, your staff and patients, as well as your practice, is essential for good measurement. Successful measurement is the foundation to achieving what matters to you. Measuring what matters is necessary for successful improvement. Measurement doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. The key is to pick the right measurements, so that you can see results quickly and adapt your interventions accordingly, putting less strain on resources and more focus on outcomes. Our team can help you create a measurement plan and guide you to measure what matters so you can achieve your goals.

What does the Online Measurement Tool (OMT) do?

The OMT enables providers and their teams to use relevant and current data in an easy, meaningful way so they can accurately assess if changes applied in the practice actually result in an improvement. Healthcare improvement teams can use this tool to easily and conveniently enter, save and analyze clinic data while clearly tracking their clinic’s progress. PCNs can use it to support collection and reporting of third next available (TNA) appointments. This can help get a sense of where member practices are at to support priority setting around access improvements.

What is Third Next Available (TNA)?

The third next available (TNA) appointment is a measure of the delay your patients experience in accessing providers for a scheduled appointment. The TNA appointment is considered a more accurate system measure of access than the “next available” appointment since the next or even the second next available appointment may have become available due to a cancellation or other event that is not predictable or reliable.

Why measure third next available (TNA) appointment instead of first next available appointment?

The third next available appointment is used, rather than the first or second, because it is a better reflection of system availability, since the first or second next available appointment may be available due to a cancellation or some other event (ie, uncontrollable variability).

Why measure demand today?

When compared with supply of appointments, demand for appointments can help determine whether providers have more work than they can reasonably manage, or whether they have excess capacity. It also helps teams decide which change strategies to test first. For example, if demand is clearly greater than supply, providers might use strategies to reduce demand before attempting the difficult work of backlog reduction.

How often do you measure cycle time?

Strive to collect a representative sample for each weekday. An example of a representative sample may look like the following:

  • 1st appointment of the day
  • Last appointment of the morning (patient before lunch)
  • 1st appointment of the afternoon (patient after lunch)
  • Last appointment of the day