IHA case studies

Improving Throughput in Children's Surgical Services While Increasing the Use of Standard Best Practices


The clinic throughput time was viewed as excessive and lacked standardized best practices. A new practice had been established, so many common processes had not implemented, which resulted in confusion among clinic and registration staff and the potential for duplicating work. Additionally, patient satisfaction was low as a result of lengthy office visits, and this dissatisfaction was negatively affecting staff and clinicians.

The goal was to create a standardized process for patient throughput that included pre-appointment chart preparation and order sets, with the goal to decrease throughput by 20 percent within 90 days. The change strategy included using the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) process and Lean Six Sigma tools. Staff and clinician buy-in was imperative to executing this project successfully.

Results included a decrease in throughput by nearly 28 percent within the 90-day window. All changes were process related, so no operational costs were incurred for this project.

This case study is part of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association's annual Quality Excellence Achievement Awards. Each year, IHA recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Illinois hospitals and health systems in continually improving and transforming health care in the state. These organizations are improving health by striving to achieve the Triple Aim—improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care—and the Institute of Medicine’s six aims for improvement—safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. To learn more, visit https://www.ihaqualityawards.org/javascript-ui/IHAQualityAward/

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