UCI Health’s SeniorHealth Center

UC Irvine Health

UCI Health’s SeniorHealth Center provides comprehensive care to patients 65+ years. Annually, it serves 3,500+ patients and has over 10,000 visits. A NCQA certified PCMH, the Center has a strong and diverse team.

As part of its community engagement effort, the Center created a PFAC in April 2017. It meets quarterly and is comprised of seven patients/ caregivers along with the Practice Manager, Medical Lead, Project Coordinator, and Social Worker. Patient members were identified by clinicians in the practice and oriented by the Project Coordinator. The PFAC has helped the SeniorHealth Center explore a number of important issues including pharmacy refills and utilization of the patient portal/Call Center.

Advisors shared concerns about the turnaround time for prescription refills. Press Ganey scores confirmed this dissatisfaction. To better address patient needs, the PharmD shift was changed to match high demand periods for Rx refill requests. Prior to the change, it took 1.8 days on average for an RX refill. After the change in staffing schedules, the average time was 0.7 days. This SeniorHealth Center experience has become an impetus for change within the larger health system.

The PFAC has also been instrumental in another improvement area – the Patient Portal/Call Center. PFAC members shared concerns about less than optimal experiences in utilizing the centralized Call System to reach the practice. In March 2018, the Call Center had a 10% abandonment rate (# of calls that hung up); only 84% of calls were answered out of total calls received. A number of new strategies were implemented:

  • A Call Center support team pod for the SeniorHealth practice
  • New “guide sheets” and protocols
  • A campaign to market enrollment and features of the patient portal to the patient population. The PFAC helped craft some of the messages.

Following implementation of these strategies, the abandonment rate decreased to 5% and the number of calls answered rose to 91% by June 2018.

Dr. Sonia Sehgal, a clinical champion of the PFAC, has shared that establishing the PFAC has been an ongoing learning experience. For example, the Council was recently re-constituted with new and more diverse membership. She recounts a recent, important, contribution of the PFAC: “A group of leaders had spent many hours creating a patient survey to assess social determinants of health. The PFAC reviewed the survey, identified a number of issues, and suggested changes that made the survey much more effective. The new revised survey has been extremely successful in helping us understand our patients.”