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Lean Six Sigma Practices Speed Medical Report Dispatches

Implementation of improvement actions led to 78 percent increase of on-time dispatches

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FRIDAY, Feb. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Lean Six Sigma practices can improve the dispatch time of medical reports sent from a hospital to a primary care provider, according to research published online Feb. 8 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Yara L. Basta, M.D., from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues assessed the main causes for a prolonged dispatch time of patient medical reports and designed improvement actions, based on the roadmap offered by Lean Six Sigma.

The researchers found that, initially, 12.3 percent of the reports were dispatched on the day of the patient's visit. The identified causes for a prolonged dispatch time were determining which doctors involved with treatment would compose the report; review of reports composed by a senior resident by a medical specialist; and authorization of the dispatch of reports by a medical specialist. To avoid these causes of delays a digital form was implemented in the electronic medical record that could be completed during the multidisciplinary team meeting. After implementation of the digital form, 90.6 percent of the reports were dispatched on the day of the visit.

"The dispatch time of reports sent from hospital to primary care can be significantly reduced using Lean Six Sigma, improving the communication between hospital and primary care," the authors write.

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