Less Rushed and Less Time Waiting

Amleset Tesfaye, Asmrom Abreha, and Zemichael Gebregziaber

It used to feel like time had stopped for patients at Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Between the time they arrived and the time they were examined by a physician, hours passed. But slowly, waiting times started to improve.

Amleset Tesfaye is a Tigrayan woman who makes a living by selling fruits and vegetables at the market near her home in northern Ethiopia. Amleset also has diabetes. Every three months, she wakes up early for a regular appointment at Ayder Hospital. She knows that these early mornings mean long days for her, and she is not alone.

Asmrom Abreha and Zemichael Gebregziaber, two other diabetic patients at Ayder Hospital, know the same feeling. Both have been coming to Ayder Hospital for more than four years to manage their diabetes, and during that time, they have spent many hours in Ayder Hospital’s waiting rooms.

However, in recent months, these patients have experienced changes at Ayder Hospital. Department heads and staff across the hospital started participating in the “LMG Program,” an experiential, team-based training program customized from the Leadership Development Program Plus. Teams are currently halfway through their training, but as patients have started to see, changes are already evident.

By early 2016, the average patient waiting time at Ayder Hospital was nearly two hours because physicians scheduled their morning clinical audit from 8:00-10:00am. The LMG Program helped staff identify this challenge and created an enabling environment that prioritized patient care.

Now, physicians have rescheduled their clinical audit to 11:00am, freeing them to examine patients immediately upon arrival at the hospital each morning.

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Patients like Asmrom and Zemichael are already noticing improvements: the physicians are more respectful and personal when they are with patients, they feel less rushed, and are spending less time waiting at Ayder Hospital.

For Amleset, the decreased waiting time means that she has the chance to get to the market sooner, helping her sell produce while they are still fresh, meaning more money in her pocket as well as a good bill of health.

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