PURPOSE: Long wait times at chemotherapy infusion centers adversely affect patients' perception of quality of care and result in patient dissatisfaction. We conducted a quality improvement initiative at a busy community hospital to improve infusion center efficiency and reduce patient wait time, while maintaining patient safety and avoiding chemotherapy waste. METHODS: We used a coordinated and collaborative effort between providers, infusion center nurses, and pharmacists to ensure completion of orders, review of laboratory data, and prepreparation of chemotherapy 1 day ahead of each patient's scheduled infusion center appointment. Monthly Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles were conducted for 6 months beyond the pilot month to refine and sustain the intervention. RESULTS: The average patient cycle time, measured as time from patient check-in to check-out from the infusion chair, decreased from 252 minutes to 173 minutes in the last 4 months evaluated (30% decrease) after the intervention. Similarly, the average chemotherapy turnaround time, measured as time from chemotherapy request by nursing to pharmacy delivery, improved from 90 minutes to 27 minutes after the intervention (70% decrease). Infusion center capacity was unaffected by the intervention. The cost of wasted chemotherapy was minimal after the first postintervention month. Surveys revealed extremely high patient and employee satisfaction with the new system. CONCLUSION: A strategy involving prepreparation of chemotherapy on the day before the scheduled infusion is feasible to implement at a busy community hospital infusion center and is associated with significant improvement in infusion center efficiency as well as patient and employee satisfaction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy