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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 29-36

Reduce the patient's waiting time and improve the patient's flow using lean six sigma in physiotherapy department

Department of Physiotherapy, Tertiary Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Albert Anand Udhayakumar
Department of Physiotherapy, Tertiary Hospital, Abu Dhabi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/QAIJ.QAIJ_18_22

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Background: Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is the latest generation of improvement approaches. The amount of waiting time directly impacts in patient experiences in physical therapy outpatient care. Patient waiting time data supports, patients referred to the physical therapy department for an appointment waited a minimum of 3 weeks. The physical therapy staff found this frustrating as patient's conditions often became more chronic during the wait and they often needed to take prolonged periods of sick leave. Physical therapists felt that to provide a better quality service they should reduce the waiting time of the patients. Aim: The aim of this study was to reduce the patient waiting time and improve the patient flow with optimized patient experience to using LSS methodology in an Outpatient Physical therapy Department (OPD). Subjects and Methods: LSS define–measure–analyze–improve–control methodology was adopted with using different quality tools. Results: A number of nonvalue added activities were identified within the process, and actions were initiated to systematically eliminate different forms of waste using the principles of lean thinking. The Non value added activities of Rework, Rejections, delayed approval Process leads to revenue loss were identified and eliminated from the process. Cause-and-effect analysis was carried out to identify the potential causes for unacceptable waiting times, and data were collected to validate these causes by the GEMBA investigation. As a result of this project, the average waiting time was reduced from 13.5 days (2 weeks) to 4 days to execute the first physical therapy session from the insurance approval. The Action plans were implemented on different levels of the process and specifically allocated to team members of Physicians, Physiotherapists, Patient's Administrators & Insurance Coordinator. Conclusion: There was a significant reduction in waiting time and improving the patient flow was achieved in the outpatient services of the physical therapy department using the LSS approach.

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