Redesigning the process for scheduling elective orthopaedic surgery: A combined Lean Six Sigma and person-centred approach
Teeling, Sean Paul
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Daly, A., Wolfe, N., Teeling, S.P., Ward, M. and McNamara, M. (2021) ‘Redesigning the process for scheduling elective orthopaedic surgery: A combined Lean Six Sigma and person-centred approach’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(22), article no. 11946.
The Health Service Executive Ireland model of care for elective surgery supports the delivery of elective surgical care in achieving both process and clinical outcomes. This project was conducted in the Orthopaedic Department. Following an outpatient consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, patients who required surgical intervention were scheduled for their intervention by the administrative team. Prior to commencing this project, the average time from patient consultation to being scheduled for surgery on the hospital system was 62 h/2.58 days. A pre- and post-team-based intervention design employing Lean Six Sigma methodology was applied to redesign the process for scheduling elective orthopaedic surgery. The project was informed by collaborative, inclusive, and participatory stakeholder engagement. The goal was to streamline the scheduling process for elective orthopaedic surgery, with a target that 90% of surgeries are scheduled “right first time” within 48 h/two working days of the outpatient consultant appointment. The main outcome measures showed that 100% of orthopaedic surgeries were scheduled successfully within 2 days of outpatient appointment. Duplication in work between patient services and scheduling teams was eliminated and facilitated a reduction in unnecessary staff workload. This project highlights the importance of collaborative interdisciplinary stakeholder engagement in the redesigning of processes to achieve sustainable outcomes, and the findings have informed further improvements across the hospital’s surgical scheduling system.