Wait times for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have been dramatically reduced at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord, thanks to a new process put in place late last year.
The latest data available (March 2012) indicates the 90th percentile overall wait time for an MRI procedure is 25 days, compared to a wait time of 109 days in August of 2011. The 90th percentile wait time is the maximum amount of days in which 9 out of 10 patients received their MRI scan, from the time the exam is ordered to the time it is performed.
The dramatic improvements in MRI wait times and efficiency are the results of a lean management process undertaken in the DI Program in October of 2011. As part of the exercise, a Patient Value Statement was also developed, which reads: "My MRI exam will be completed in a timely manner. The environment will be comfortable, clean, and the staff will be friendly and knowledgeable."
"All aspects of this process were driven by our staff, "says Tyler Speck, Administrative Director of the Medical Imaging Program at HSN. "We looked at things that didn't need to be done to get a scan. Five minutes here, five minutes there really adds up. We want to honour our patient value statement."
The lean project reduced the number of administrative steps needed to obtain an MRI scan. By also improving the scheduling of MRI exams, the Diagnostic Imaging Program predicts it will be able to perform an additional 40 scans per week.
"This is much more than a one-time improvement, it's about redesigning the entire process around the patient" adds Mark Hartman Vice President of Cancer Services and Medical Imaging at HSN. "It is really about changing our approach to how we organize care by directing our efforts to those things that add value for patients and finding ways to eliminate those things that don't. If we can do that for MRI scans we can do it in other services as well. "