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Keywords

appointments and schedules, health resources, hospital planning, process assessment (health care), radiology

 

Authors

  1. Elkhuizen, Sylvia G.
  2. van Sambeek, Jasper R.C.
  3. Hans, Erwin W.
  4. Krabbendam, Koos (J.J.)
  5. Bakker, Piet J.M.

Abstract

Background: As central diagnostic facilities, computer tomography (CT) scans appear to be bottlenecks in many patient-care processes. This study describes a case study concerning redesign of a CT scan department in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

 

Purposes: The aim was to decrease access time for the CT-scan and simultaneously increase utilization level.

 

Methodology/Approach: An important cause of relatively low-capacity utilization is variability in the time needed for the scanning process. We performed a qualitative and quantitative analysis of current processes; identified bottlenecks and selected interventions with the greatest expected reduction of variability in flow time.

 

Findings: The most promising and most feasible opportunity appeared to be to reallocate the insertion of intravenous access lines to a preparation room. The time needed for this activity was very hard to predict and needed a lot of slack in the lead time for appointments. By removing it from the CT room, lead time could be reduced by 5 minutes. The intervention resulted in a decrease of access time from 21 days to less than 5 days, and an increase of the utilization rate from 44% to 51%. This contributed directly to patient service and indirectly to cost reduction.

 

Practice Implications: Our strategy is applicable in every appointment-based hospital facility with variation in the length of time of the process. It allows to simultaneously reduce costs and improve service for the patient.