Caring Wisely FY 2023 Project Contest

Rethinking the waitlist for patient care to optimize direct care and reduce “waste”

Primary Author: Christie Lin
Proposal Status: 

Patient waitlists for therapeutic services is a significant problem in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences that has become exacerbated with the pandemic.  This problem is reflective of the broader challenges to access mental health services within our community and field. Waitlists are costly for everyone involved in the health system. They are problematic for both patients and clinical care teams. For the healthcare system, waitlists are the result of limited access to care. Patients can be on the waitlist for a duration of up to one year, particularly in our division where the demand for care is higher than the number of available providers. Waitlists leaves patients without care from the UCSF health system, resulting in prolonging symptoms that  place them at-risk for increased symptom severity and the need for more intensive or prolonged care in the long run. For the clinical team, the time and effort spent in managing the waitlist results in lost productivity and provision of active patient care efforts that negatively impacts every team member from the administrative to the direct care team. Therefore, this proposal aims to reduce the “waste” associated with waitlists for clinical services with a brief care model for families on the waitlist: Bridge Program.