St Vincent’s is a tertiary public healthcare service who provides acute medical and surgical services, aged care, diagnostics, rehabilitation, allied health, mental health, palliative care and residential care.
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne worked with Toyota on Pharmacy and Cancer Centre operations to improve patient experience.
The Cancer Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne provides multidisciplinary care to cancer patients. The centre receives more than 10,000 patient visits a year, with the demand on its services continuing to rise.
With the increase in demand, the Cancer Centre team found that at times some patients were having to wait for prolonged periods in the waiting room. They wanted to work with TSSC Australia to put the patients’ needs first and decrease the wait time for services.
The Cancer Centre team identified there were two main types of patient pathways: patients who are attending the clinic for a doctor review, and patients who were receiving treatment in the Chemotherapy Day Unit (CDU).
Prior to the project commencement, the average patient wait time for a doctor review was 16.6 minutes, and the average wait for treatment in the CDU was 23 minutes.
Through the TPS Simulation Dojo, TSSC Australia shared the principles and philosophy of the Toyota Production System (TPS) with St Vincent’s members across the multidisciplinary team. This was followed by a series of facilitated problem solving activities to tackle the problem of long patient wait times across various areas of the patient journey.
The St Vincent’s Cancer Centre project team mapped the patient journey to identify where in the process patients were waiting. Through this activity, they identified more than 130 improvement ideas to improve the patient journey. Ideas ranged from streamlining the patient booking process, to a new chemotherapy order form.
By implementing the improvement ideas, the teams saw a reduction in waiting times: Patient wait times for doctor review decreased by 32%, and for treatment in the CDU by 56%.
Following the completion of this project, St Vincent’s and TSSC Australia continue to collaborate and learn how TPS can be applied in health care to improve patient outcomes.