The link between wait time and patient dissatisfaction has been an important topic of discussion for health providers. This study aimed to streamline workflow from arrival to premedication by decreasing patient wait time to increase value in a high-volume academic outpatient oncology infusion unit.
In a 2012 study examining methods to improve chemotherapy’s wait time, a scheduling mechanism was described, whereby patients were grouped according to treatment readiness. However, this was not the primary subject of the study.
The research used the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) method and Lean Methodology in completing a project to streamline a defined subset of patient experiences within an outpatient oncology infusion unit in an academic comprehensive cancer centre.
Post Implementation, patients experienced a decrease of 17 minutes in mean patient arrival to premedication start time. Additionally, a value stream analysis demonstrated that it decreased patient touchpoints by two in the new process, and it increased value-added time by 17%.
The systematic PDCA methodology led the team to identify opportunities to reduce waste in the system and streamline patient care. This study results reveal the benefits of streamlining workflow to improve processes and wait time for patients with cancer by prioritizing and subsequently routing, via a unique flow, patients who have met the pre-requirements for treatment.