Reducing infusion clinic wait times using quality improvement

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE Long wait times are a common occurrence for chemotherapy infusion patients and are a source of decreased patient satisfaction. Our facility sought to decrease outpatient infusion clinic wait times by 20% using the Model for Improvement, quality improvement tools, and Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. METHODS A multidisciplinary team was formed to address clinic wait times. Patient interviews, time studies, process mapping, brainstorming sessions, affinity diagrams, fishbone diagrams, and surveys were used to define the problem and to develop an intervention. Wait times from check-in until medication administration were analyzed using statistical process control charts. Our Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle led to the addition of a “fast-track” clinic title for patients not waiting for laboratory results on the day of treatment and changes in clinic communication. The fast-track clinic signaled for those patients to have priority for vital sign collection and earlier notification to pharmacy to begin preparing medications. RESULTS Baseline wait times for patients not requiring laboratories on the day of treatment averaged 1 hour and 33 minutes. After intervention, using statistical process control charts, a shift was observed with a new average wait time of 1 hour and 12 minutes (a 23% decrease). Wait times for patients requiring laboratories on the day of treatment did not change significantly. CONCLUSION Implementation of a fast-track clinic title and improving communication resulted in a significant reduction in wait times for patients not requiring laboratories on the day of treatment. Future efforts will focus on sustainment and improving wait times for all patients.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Plourde CL; Varnado WT; Gleaton BJ; Das DG
  • Start Page

  • E807
  • End Page

  • E813
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 8