May 28, 2024

HMC’s evening clinic programme boosts patients’ access to care, cuts wait times

As part of its ongoing programme to increase access to care for patients and reduce wait times, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) launched evening clinics in May 2023 for several high-demand specialties.

The evening clinics, which are running at the Ambulatory Care Centre for ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat, urology, and audiology; the Bone and Joint Centre for orthopaedics; and Hamad General Hospital for bariatrics, have resulted in a significant increase in the number of patients receiving care at these specialties as well as reducing the average wait time for patients to be seen following referral.

Nasser Al Naimi, chief of Patient Experience and director of Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute, said: “In recent years, demand for healthcare services has risen significantly and HMC is now providing high-quality care to more patients than ever before. The introduction of the new evening clinics has enabled patients to be seen more quickly and have greater choice of appointment times to suit their lifestyle, for example, scheduling their appointment outside of work and school hours.

“The evening clinics are providing additional capacity across HMC’s outpatient services for high demand specialties and it is clear that they have made a positive impact on patient care over the past nine months.”

The number of patients receiving care at the high-demand specialties has increased significantly: 33 percent increase in Audiology; 49 percent increase in Ear, Nose and Throat; 45 percent increase in Ophthalmology; 22 percent increase in Urology; 58 percent increase in Bariatrics; and 186 percent increase in Orthopaedics.

The evening clinic program has also resulted in reduced wait times for patient to be seen by a doctor following referral. For example, the referral to treatment time for patients has reduced by 60 percent in Audiology; 50 percent in ENT; 35 percent in Ophthalmology; 20 percent in Urology; 50 percent in Bariatrics; and 75 percent in Orthopaedics.

Naimi said that while HMC’s ongoing work to increase access to care for patients and reduce wait times has yielded remarkable results, challenges remain. Notably, he said there has been an average ‘No Show’ rate of 29 percent across all outpatient clinics. HMC encourages patients to proactively reschedule appointments if they are unable to attend.

HMC reminds patients to use the ‘Nesma’ak’ customer service helpline, 16060, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whereby upcoming appointments can be managed at HMC facilities, whether by booking an appointment in advance, changing or cancelling appointments.