Practice puts patient waiting times to productive use

Monday, 8 April 2019

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For years, Narre Warren Medical Centre (NWMC) has been utilising its waiting areas to engage and educate patients about important health matters through a number of informative displays.

NWMC is a family clinic which practices holistic assessments of patients’ health.

The practice has selected 12 health topics on rotation, each displayed for eight weeks at a time on two large pin boards. NWMC’s Practice Manager explained the eight-week duration is connected to the average time between appointments for patients who are over 50 years of age. The average time for those over 65 is four weeks.

The display boards encourage patients to ask staff and clinicians questions relating to each topic. Patients are also known for asking when the next display will be shown.

NWMC’s Practice Manager credits the success of the displays to its staff involvement across the practice, including receptionists, GPs and dietitians, who put the boards together.

Another element of its success is the positioning of the display boards in an area where patients typically lack engagement and entertainment while they wait. 

“Something that I loved hearing was how well-received the displays are by patients,” said SEMPHN Provider Support Officer, Vicki.

Part of Vicki’s role is to touch base with practices across the SEMPHN catchment, stretching from South Eastern Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula, to identify what type of support practices need. Vicki also offers PHN assistance and informs practices about education and events relevant to them.

“It’s great to know someone’s there,” NWMC’s Practice manager said.

The Practice Manager spoke to the importance of making sure the staff are involved in fun activities—the displays being one example of this.

“It’s not just academic, it’s fun,” she said. “Staff are the nucleus of the practice. It’s important to take care of your receptionists and nurses.”

February and March’s theme was Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and the next topic is influenza. The display will be up in April, right in time for flu season.

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