Integrated Lean Six Sigma approach for patient flow improvement in hospital emergency department
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Because of increased competition between healthcare providers, higher customer expectations, stringent checks on insurance payments and new government regulations, it has become vital for healthcare organisations to enhance the quality of the care they provide, to increase efficiency, and to improve the cost effectiveness of their services. Consequently, a number of quality management concepts and tools are employed in the healthcare domain to achieve the most efficient ways of using time, manpower, space and other resources. Emergency departments are designed to provide a high-quality medical service with immediate availability of resources to those in need of emergency care. The challenge of maintaining a smooth flow of patients in emergency departments is a global problem. This study attempts to improve the patient flow in emergency departments by considering Lean techniques and Six Sigma methodology in a comprehensive conceptual framework.
The proposed research will develop a systematic approach through integration of Lean techniques with Six Sigma methodology to improve patient flow in emergency departments. The results reported in this paper are based on a standard questionnaire survey of 350 patients in the Emergency Department of Aseer Central Hospital in Saudi Arabia. The results of the study led us to determine the most significant variables affecting patient satisfaction with patient flow, including waiting time during patient treatment in the emergency department; effectiveness of the system when dealing with the patient’s complaints; and the layout of the emergency department. The proposed model will be developed within a performance evaluation metric based on these critical variables, to be evaluated in future work within fuzzy logic for continuous quality improvement.
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