About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Implementing Lean Processes Reduces Surgical Wait Times at Veterans Affairs Hospitals

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on September 11, 2016 at 10:42 PM
Font : A-A+

 Implementing Lean Processes Reduces Surgical Wait Times at Veterans Affairs Hospitals

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health care network in the United States, providing a unique system of health care delivery and access to nine million veterans. However, it has come under increased media scrutiny over the past two years for delays in scheduling, lengthy patient wait times, and lack of access.

In a study published online by JAMA Surgery, Andrew C. Eppstein, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and colleagues examined whether lean processes can be used to improve wait times for surgical procedures in Veterans Affairs hospitals.


In this study, various databases were examined to assess changes in wait times for elective general surgical procedures and clinical volume before, during, and after implementation of lean processes over three fiscal years (FYs) at a tertiary care Veterans Affairs medical center (Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Indianapolis). The surgery service and systems redesign service performed an analysis in FY 2013, culminating in multiple rapid process improvement workshops.

Multidisciplinary teams identified systemic inefficiencies and strategies to improve interdepartmental and patient communication to reduce canceled consultations and cases, diagnostic rework, and no-shows. High-priority triage with enhanced operating room flexibility was instituted to reduce scheduling wait times. General surgery department pilot projects were then implemented mid-FY 2013.

The researchers found that average patient wait times for elective general surgical procedures decreased from 33 days in FY 2012 to 26 days in FY 2013. In FY 2014, average wait times were half the value of the previous FY at 12 days. This was a three-fold decrease from wait times in FY 2012. Operative volume increased from 931 patients in FY 2012 to 1,090 in FY 2013 and 1,072 in FY 2014. Combined clinic, telehealth, and e-consultation encounters increased from 3,131 in FY 2012 to 3,460 in FY 2013 and 3,517 in FY 2014, while the number of no-shows decreased from 366 in FY 2012 to 227 in FY 2014.

"This study demonstrated a significant reduction in patient wait times for surgical procedures and an improvement in access in the clinical and operative settings when implementing lean processes. The improvement gained was noted over multiple areas and seen during the implementation of new technologies. The changes in the measured outcome categories occurred early, and the differences were sustained across the entire observation period," the authors write.

"Improvement in the overall surgical patient experience can stem from multidisciplinary collaboration among systems redesign personnel, clinicians, and surgical staff to reduce systemic inefficiencies. Monitoring and follow-up of system efficiency measures and the employment of lean practices and process improvements can have positive short- and long-term effects on wait times, clinical throughput, and patient care and satisfaction."

Source: Eurekalert


Latest Hospital News

Hand Hygiene can Keep Healthcare-associated Infections at Bay
Is hand hygiene important in hospital settings? Clean hands can help patients and staff in healthcare settings to avoid healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). So, wash your hands
How Clean Hospitals can Reduce Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance may result from poor hygiene practices in hospitals or other medical facilities, stated study.
 Patient Care Improves When Doctors Know Each Other
Will patient care be better if the specialist knows the referred doctor? Yes, friendly relationships among physicians have a major impact on the quality of care.
Can 3D Hologram Technology Save Lives in Hospitals
The novel device developed is integrated into a device small enough and cheap enough for medical professionals slip into their pocket as they travel to remote areas.
 Heart Health Meter (HHM): India's First App to Assess Heart Health
Heart Health Meter (HHM) developed by Madhavbaug under its 'Save My Heart's mission uses a scorecard that measures various stages of heart health.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Implementing Lean Processes Reduces Surgical Wait Times at Veterans Affairs Hospitals Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests