Purpose Reducing the length of stay is a high-priority objective for all health care institutions. Delays in chemotherapy initiation for planned preadmissions lead to patient dissatisfaction and prolonged length of stay. Patients and Methods A multidisciplinary team was formed as part of the ASCO Quality Training Program. We aimed to reduce the time to initiation of chemotherapy from patient arrival at Parkland Hospital from a median of 6.2 hours at baseline to 4 hours over a 6-month period (35% reduction). The team identified inconsistency in blood work requirements, poor communication, and nonstandard patient arrival times as key causes of delay in the process. Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles were implemented based on identified improvement opportunities. The outcome measure was time from arrival to chemotherapy start. Data were obtained from time stamps in the electronic health record. Results The first PDSA cycle included patient reminders to arrive at specific times, improved communication using a smartphone secure messaging application, and preadmission notes by oncology fellows detailing whether fresh blood work were needed on admission. Baseline data from 36 patients and postimplementation data from 28 patients were analyzed. Median time from admission to chemotherapy initiation preprocess change was 6.2 hours; it was 3.2 hours postchange. A sustained shift in the process was apparent on a control chart. Conclusion Delays in initiation of chemotherapy can be prevented using classic quality improvement methodology and a multidisciplinary team. We aim to further refine our PDSA cycles and ensure sustainability of change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy