Quality management : reduction of waiting time and efficiency enhancement in an ENT-university outpatients' department

  • Background Public health systems are confronted with constantly rising costs. Furthermore, diagnostic as well as treatment services become more and more specialized. These are the reasons for an interdisciplinary project on the one hand aiming at simplification of planning and scheduling patient appointments, on the other hand at fulfilling all requirements of efficiency and treatment quality. Methods As to understanding procedure and problem solving activities, the responsible project group strictly proceeded with four methodical steps: actual state analysis, analysis of causes, correcting measures, and examination of effectiveness. Various methods of quality management, as for instance opinion polls, data collections, and several procedures of problem identification as well as of solution proposals were applied. All activities were realized according to the requirements of the clinic's ISO 9001:2000 certified quality management system. The development of this project is described step by step from planning phase to inauguration into the daily routine of the clinic and subsequent control of effectiveness. Results Five significant problem fields could be identified. After an analysis of causes the major remedial measures were: installation of a patient telephone hotline, standardization of appointment arrangements for all patients, modification of the appointments book considering the reason for coming in planning defined working periods for certain symptoms and treatments, improvement of telephonic counselling, and transition to flexible time planning by daily updates of the appointments book. After implementation of these changes into the clinic's routine success could be demonstrated by significantly reduced waiting times and resulting increased patient satisfaction. Conclusion Systematic scrutiny of the existing organizational structures of the outpatients' department of our clinic by means of actual state analysis and analysis of causes revealed the necessity of improvement. According to rules of quality management correcting measures and subsequent examination of effectiveness were performed. These changes resulted in higher satisfaction of patients, referring colleagues and clinic staff the like. Additionally the clinic is able to cope with an increasing demand for appointments in outpatients' departments, and the clinic's human resources are employed more effectively.

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Author:Matthias Helbig, Silke HelbigORCiDGND, Heike Anette Kahla-Witzsch, Angelika May
Pubmed Id:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19183496
Parent Title (English):BMC health services research
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2009/04/24
Date of first Publication:2009/01/31
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2009/04/24
Page Number:9
First Page:1
Last Page:9
© 2009 Helbig et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Source:BMC Health Services Research 2009, 9:21 ; doi:10.1186/1472-6963-9-21 ; http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/9/21
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 2.0