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Six Sigma Techniques Improve Operating Room Patient Flow

Last Updated: June 29, 2012.

Adoption of strategies such as Six Sigma methodology in hospital operating rooms leads to improvements in patient flow and employee engagement, according to a study published in the July issue of the AORN Journal.

FRIDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Adoption of strategies such as Six Sigma methodology in hospital operating rooms (ORs) leads to improvements in patient flow and employee engagement, according to a study published in the July issue of the AORN Journal.

Elaine J. Amato-Vealey, Ph.D., R.N., from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and colleagues utilized Six Sigma methodology in a hospital to identify and establish a set of integrated recommendations for surgical patient flow. A core group of employees from all involved areas was created to define the problem of patient flow, measure the current state, examine the root causes, and implement a new process.

The researchers found that implementing Six Sigma methodology identified ways to improve the efficiency of frontline staff members and streamline workflow to improve OR patient flow, reduce workflow stress, and eliminate redundancy and waste, but did not require a reduction in the number of employees. Employee morale, job satisfaction and safety, and patient experience were all improved.

"The implementation of the Six Sigma project at our hospital resulted in an improvement in the discharge process and ensured our ability to sustain a seamless surgical patient flow without incurring a financial cost," the authors write.

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