Business Process Mapping - Roadmap to Better Care
Partnerships for Health (PFH) is a three-year demonstration project, bringing together "primary care providers, community care, hospitals, Diabetes Education Centres, specialists and patients in a partnership for improvement."
The Partnerships for Health teams are involved in an exciting new approach to understanding one another and improving care for adults with diabetes.
Business process mapping is an activity designed to define, document and improve a process. In this case, the PFH teams will be mapping the process that a patient undergoes from the point of diagnosis through ongoing primary and community care to avoid complications and emergencies.
Gavin Giles, e-Health lead, says the mapping approach will help all team participants understand how each member contributes to the continuum of care. "Now that we're working together, the team members are interested in knowing more about how each other provides care," he says. "The really exciting thing is that this is not only an opportunity to describe what happens currently, but also to think about what could happen in the future."
The business process mapping is happening by bringing representatives from the Family Health Teams (FHTs), the South West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and local Diabetes Education Centres (DECs) together for two to three days to develop their map. They will be supported by Giles and Pamela McLaughlin-Skinner. McLaughlin-Skinner is Dean of Health Sciences and Human Services at Fanshawe College, and an experienced facilitator and researcher.
The result will be a visual representation of the care process, and a greater understanding by team members of how their work currently flows and how processes could be improved. "The process is an opportunity for these teams to demonstrate leadership and influence chronic care delivery in Ontario based on what they've found to be valuable to patients," says McLaughlin-Skinner.
Giles hopes that by going through the mapping process now, the teams will be better equipped to integrate other providers as implementation of chronic disease prevention and management programs expand across the system. "We think this will meet the immediate needs of the PFH participants," he says, "and then provide a solid foundation for future work, including adoption of integrated electronic health systems."
For team members, the biggest benefit is educational, Giles says. "Providers will better understand the work of their colleagues and how they can best work with them. Right now the FHTs, South West CCAC and DECs operate on separate sites, often duplicating work efforts. This is an opportunity for all members of the team to understand what's happening at each site and plan the most efficient pathways for the patient to move through the system."
Adapted from Partnerships for Health Bulletin, September 2008