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Dr. Luis Braga and Dr. Bruno Leslie are pediatric urologists at MCH. They’re part of a pilot program with extended clinic hours.
April 16, 2024

To serve more patients, MCH opens evening hours for some clinics

Thanks to a historic provincial investment in pediatric health care, McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) has been able to expand health care services and pilot innovative solutions to improve access to care.

An example of this is the “extended hours pilot.” A select number of clinics across the hospital have been testing how extending hours of operations may help address backlogs for patients, including the urology clinic.

This new system is reducing the waiting list by offering more appointments, and is making a significant, positive difference for patients in need of care.

Helping infants, children, and youth with urology concerns, including assessments, diagnostics, therapy, ongoing care, surgery, and more, the urology clinic is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of skilled physicians (urologists), fellows, nurses, a physician assistant, a health care aide, and a child life specialist.

Prior to receiving funding, the urology clinic was open to patients during daytime hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With the extended hours pilot, the team has been providing clinical services into the evening multiple days per week, allowing more patients and families to access care.

Opening more appointments to reduce the waiting list

“The extended hours clinic provides families with more autonomy in their health care journey. The extra hours available to see a pediatric urologist gives families more flexibility to balance their child’s health care needs with their life schedules,” says Dr. Luis Braga, pediatric urologist at MCH. “Caregivers who are unable to bring their children and teens into the hospital during the day have more opportunity to access appointments, which also means less last-minute cancellations.”

Most importantly, says Braga, by offering evening services more urology patients can be treated overall. For some conditions, it may take families nine to 12 months to see the pediatric urologist. This new system is reducing the waiting list by offering more appointments, and is making a significant, positive difference for patients in need of care.

No need to miss work or school

A woman holding her son. They are both smiling.

Sarah and Mason

Sarah, whose eight-year-old son, Mason, is a patient at the urology clinic, praised the clinic following her positive experience.

“Having an after-hours appointment was a great experience. It was a big stress reliever to not have to miss work or school for an appointment. The clinic was very organized, fast and efficient,” she said. “We were in and out – we waited about two minutes in the waiting room for our appointment. It was also nice not having to find a spot to sit as it wasn’t crowded. Dr. Braga was kind and very patient with my son.”

Multiple hospital clinics at MCH are piloting extended hours to determine impacts on patient care and surgical waiting lists. The urology clinic was one of the first groups to trial this option.

Since November 2023, around 130 patients have benefited from extended hours at the urology clinic. The team has seen an improvement in the flow of patients through the clinic, which has been running two to three times a month. The hospital plans to continue extended hours pilot for the next several months.

While this pilot is still in the early stages, the response has been positive, and the urology clinic team hopes to continue offering more access to families in the future.