Sunday, February 17, 2008

Talk about Wait Time and Delayed Care in Clinics

Welcome to the wait time and delayed care blog. This blog is about the techniques and tools of managing wait times in a professional setting. Doctors’ offices, lawyers, dentists, chiropractors, other health care professionals (as well as hairdressers) all run into the same problems because of quick appointments with a large number of people. My premise is that if the staff that manage scheduling and patient flow can make modest improvements, major changes can happen. Most of us can find ways of shortening a 20 minute appointment by 4 minutes. This is a 20% improvement. But if that same 20% improvements are achieved with the family doctors across Canada; that's an extra 3,400 (20% of 17,000) physicians worth of time.

If you are the person that is organizing or managing an office, business or clinic then this blog is intended for you. Our office works hard to run on time and get people in quickly, despite being in an under serviced area. Shortening wait times is not just a matter of increasing the number of people/providers that care for the patients it's a matter of better management.

There are four main concepts.
1. Time saved with one patient can be spent with another
2. Work that runs smoothly will run faster
2. Having to repeat work wastes time
3. To improve something; you have to be able to measure it.

Industry (e.g. Toyota, GE, etc...) long ago embraced these concepts through Lean, Six Sigma, DMAIC and other programs. But many businesses still don't use them to improve the bottom line. In the service sector we need to be even more diligent because wasted time affects our patients.

I hope you'll find the blogs helpful and I look forward to bouncing ideas off of anyone interested in the topic. Health care wait times, delayed care, waiting lists, block booking, priority booking, queuing theory, six sigma, lean, repeated work, critical time to treatment and many other topics are all up for discussion. My hope is many people will make small changes that can have a major impact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great comments Ian! Looking forward to your Blog.

Rick B