We Together: A Communication of Stormont Vail Health (November 14)

Dear Community Partners,

Here are today’s updates:

  • Ease of Access to Health Care Focus of Scheduling Project
  • Update on ‘We Ask Because We Care’ Initiative
  • Walk with a Doc this Saturday at Washburn University
  • Blood Donation Emergency: Consider Donating Today

Ease of Access to Health Care Focus of Scheduling Project

To improve patient satisfaction, a project is underway to increase the ease of scheduling appointments. In late July, a cross-departmental team took on the task of looking through the eyes of the patient at the process of scheduling an appointment with any/all services within the entire Stormont Vail system. This helped identify barriers in the scheduling process that needed to be addressed.

This initiative is one of several that are a part of Stormont Vail Health’s strategic plan to optimize operations. Here are some examples of improvements that have been made in recent weeks.

  • Often, individuals who are new to a community and need a primary care physician, ask a friend or neighbor for their advice. Chances are that provider has a full patient panel, leaving the person to call around to find a practice taking new patients. Not anymore! Stormont Vail Health’s website at, now has a search function that provides a list of providers with open practices and includes the phone number to call for an appointment.
  • After you find the new provider you’d like to make an appointment with, you can call the main number at (785) 354-6000 during regular business hours to be routed to the Scheduling team. After hours the Health Connection team will take your information and have the Scheduling team call the next day.
  • As we know, many of providers (primary and specialty) have full schedules well into the future. Stormont Vail’s electronic medical record, EPIC, has a new “wait list” feature that will text you with a MyChart message if an earlier date opens up for the type of appointment you were scheduled for. Patients can accept or decline the earlier date. Currently, 63 of the Stormont system departments are open to this wait list feature.
  • MyChart also allows the patient to request an appointment with a provider the patient has seen in the past. That functionality is now activated for all providers.
  • Several Manhattan providers are now allowing NEW patient appointments to be made via MyChart.
  • A key initiative underway will assist patients who are referred for a procedure or visit with a specialist. A streamlined process is being developed to get work queues, prior authorizations from insurance companies and scheduling done in a more efficient way. This process change involves a major build in the electronic medical record, with completion in early spring. The goal is to notify the patient of the scheduled procedure or visit within 7 days of the order.
  • Another efficiency underway is to remove default service location from an order and a link on the order to report of days out of each location so the provider is aware that there may be quicker access to services provided at another Stormont Vail location. 
  • A process has recently been completed to notify the provider when an order isn’t scheduled as another fail-safe to enhance quality care.

Hats off to this scheduling optimization team and the EPIC builders for their tireless work in creating the best experience for our patients while enhancing patient care and staff satisfaction.

Update on ‘We Ask Because We Care’ Initiative

Six months after the launch of the “We Ask Because We Care” initiative, trends are beginning to emerge. The campaign was launched to gain a better understanding of patient race and ethnicity by asking additional, optional background questions during a visit or on MyChart. The information is confidential and protected and gives Stormont Vail knowledge to improve its interpreter services, support programs, care quality, regulatory compliance, and more.

Emersen Frazier, Director of Health Equity and Policy, reported the following trends in data being collected:

  • For surveys completed, there is a trending decrease in proportional entering of “Blank” and “Other” and steady responses of unknown. This means Stormont Vail is increasing the amount of usable racial data. Decrease in “Other” signals the questionnaire provides more inclusive options that people identify with.
  • Steep trending increase in the entrance of race data across all racial groups. This signals an increase in the robustness of racial data and greater participation in demographic collection across the board.
  • About half (47%) of patients are opting into participating in adding ethnic background information when asked during in person visits. This is an opportunity for growth, and additional patient communication will be provided about the importance of the collection of demographic information.

Emersen also recently shared information about the “We Ask Because We Care” initiative at the KFMC’s Kansas Health Equity Summit in a presentation “From Collection to Action: Accurate Data that Accelerates Health Equity.”

Walk with a Doc this Saturday at Washburn University

Put on your walking shoes and join Dr. Michelle Schierling, physician at the Stormont Vail Health’s Topeka Emergency Department, at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, for Walk with a Doc at Washburn University, on the east side of Lee Arena. Dr. Schierling will answer patient questions and share how Stormont Vail’s recent fourth Magnet designation affects care and experience. This free event is open to the community and requires no pre-registration. Come prepared with warm clothes and lots of questions!

Blood Donation Emergency: Consider Donating Today

The Community Blood Center has issued an urgent plea for blood donors to consider scheduling an appointment today – both first-time, regular, and lapsed donors. The center has increased the amount of appointments to collect more blood and rebuild inventory.

Why your support matters:

  • Blood is a lifeline for those experiencing critical medical conditions, including accident victims, surgical patients, and individuals with serious medical conditions.
  • Your blood donation can save lives, providing hope and relief to those in need.

How you can help:

  • Donate blood: If you are eligible and able to donate, please visit or (816) 968-4040 to find the closest location near you.
  • Spread the word: Even if you cannot donate, you can still make a significant impact by encouraging others to consider donating.
  • Support with resources: If you are unable to donate, you can assist by providing resources such as snacks or volunteering at donation sites.

We together,

Dr. K

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