Improving WIC Open Access Appointment System


Impact Statement: 
In order to improve client satisfaction and increase the efficiency of WIC visits, this medium size local health department used QI to improve their Open Access appointment system. They were able to reduce the time for a complete WIC visit by 25% and increase participant satisfaction to 96%.

The Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA) applied for and received a grant from the North Carolina Accreditation Learning Collaborative to engage North Carolina State University (NCSU) staff to conduct a Lean Kaizen event for our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program focusing on improving the Open Access Appointment process, which had recently been implemented. As a result of changing the appointment system, participant satisfaction had declined as well as the total caseload being served. The aim statement for this project was to make major improvements in access and efficiency for participants while at the same time improving staff satisfaction to attain the following goals by March 31, 2011:
• Increase participant satisfaction to 96% or higher
• Keep appointment availability to 0 days
• 90% of staff strongly agree that they would recommend our WIC Department as a great place to work
• Increase staff satisfaction to 85% or higher
• Four WIC staff will be formally trained in Kaizen quality improvement (QI) process.
In January 2011, we conducted a Lean Kaizen event with the help of Annah Poteat-Godwin from NCSU. After performing an assessment of the current process using Value Stream Mapping, the Lean Kaizen team divided to work on two different areas: one to add a receptionist in the WIC waiting room to improve “traffic” flow, and one to modify the Open Access scheduling to allow some pre-booked appointments. Utilizing Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) worksheets, we placed a clerical staff person in the waiting room as a receptionist for part of a day and developed and instituted criteria for participants that needed to pre-book appointments. Cycle time for the complete WIC visit decreased 25%, and participant satisfaction improved from 89% to 96%. However, staff satisfaction decreased from 69% to 60%. The benefits to the staff included training in QI and feeling empowered to make changes.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Cabarrus Health Alliance

Stanley, C. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving WIC Open Access Appointment System. Thu, 12/27/2012 - 16:01. Available at Accessed July 24, 2024.

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