The Cardiology Unit of the Este General Hospital began its activity in 1988. We soon identified a mismatch between a good, up-to-date diagnostic instrumentation with growing customers' demand and an inadequate utilization of the instruments. Waiting lists were getting longer, customers were not satisfied, no-shows at the appointments increased and we had a progressive loss in image. We therefore decided to intervene on our processes, starting the project "TOTAL QUALITY IN CARDIOLOGY". We focused our attention on two main fields, namely (1) electrocardiography, (2) other diagnostic techniques, separately analyzed because of important differences. Point (1) is basically worked out by paramedical personnel, in high numbers and with stable demand, while point (2) is determinantly linked to medical activity, although with concomitant need for paramedical support. The figures are lower for point (2) but are steadily growing. In the two operating fields we further identified two separate adverse effects: 1). ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHIC EXAMINATIONS (ECG) ARE TOO TIME CONSUMING, 2) THE NUMBER OF DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES IS TOO LOW FOR THE INSTRUMENTS AVAILABLE. We used preliminary analysis with process flow diagrams and our interventional methods were policy deployment and daily routine work. ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHIC EXAMINATIONS ARE TOO TIME CONSUMING. From cause-effect diagram for cause classification and subsequent Pareto analysis we identified two groups of main causes: 1. the paramedical-patient team is not able to optimise usage of the instrument; in particular, total time for undressing of the patient, lead attachment, dressing of the patient, change in ECG conductivity cream and, if necessary, repetition of ECG for mistakes in procedure is much longer than operative time of the instrument; 2. the necessary copy of the ECG done by the instrument was too time consuming (2') as compared to total procedure time. Implementation plans have been as follows: activity was concentrated in one single room at constant temperature (20 degrees); we augmented the number of dressing rooms and nurses (from 1 to 2 unit); we substituted the ECG conductivity cream with a water-alcoholic solution and the copy with a photocopy. RESULTS: decrease in mean time for ECG from 6'52" to 3'25" (for example: total ECGs 1992: 14,827, total spared time: 852 working hours); reductions in dead times; capability to cope rapidly with high demand; consequent possibility to utilise paramedical personnel for other activities; reduction in copy costs from 156 to 50 Lit each (total reduction 1,571,662 Lit). EXPECTATIONS. further revision of the procedures to keep pace with new electrocardiographic instruments and to achieve shorter operative times.
|Translated title of the contribution||Revision and optimization of processes: a fundamental timing for adequate use of the resources and technological innovation. An example of intervention in the cardiology field and considerations on "total quality" in medicine|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Cardiologia|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1995|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine