Patient Flow, Health Delivery Processes, and Areas for Improvement in the UP Health Service (UPHS) during May to June 2020 of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Background. Workplace or employees’ clinics play a vital role in disease outbreaks as there could be an influx of sick personnel. Processes and patient flows during pandemics should be documented to identify good practices and sources of operational inefficiencies.
Objective. To describe the patient flow, health delivery processes, and areas for improvement at the UPHS during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic from May to June 2020.
Methods. This was a cross-sectional study involving patient flow analysis of processes at the employees’ clinic of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. The study was divided into two major components: clinic process time measurement and process flow mapping. Data collection involved time elements and narrative descriptions of good practices and problems in the process flow.
Results. The UPHS staff attended to 1,514 employees’ visits during the 15 working days from May to June 2020. The total UPHS service time from arrival to end of consultation of an employee with a COVID-19-related concern was an average of 1 hour 3 minutes (SD±39 minutes) with a mean total waiting time of 46 minutes (SD±37 minutes). Good practices identified were personnel flexibility in doing other tasks, good communication, and infection control measures. Areas for improvement included symptom screening, implementation of physical distancing, and disinfection practices.
Conclusion. The process flows in the UPHS clinic consisted of COVID-19 related consultations, non-COVID-19 related concerns, and swabbing services. Good communication, staff flexibility, infection control measures, and leadership were identified as good practices. Occasional lapses in symptom screening at triage, physical distancing among employees in queuing lines, and inconsistent disinfection practices were the areas for improvement.