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Improving Healthcare Referral System Using Lean Six Sigma

DOI: 10.4236/ajibm.2018.82013, PP. 193-206

Keywords: Improving Healthcare, Referral System, Lean, Six Sigma, Response Time

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Abstract:

The World Health Organization considers the referral system, begun in 1978, to be one of the primary components of any medical system. Referral is the procedure of directing a patient to an appropriate specialist or agency. This research uses King Abdullah Medical City in Makkah, Saudi Arabia as a case study to explore using Lean Six Sigma as a way to improve healthcare referral system. King Abdullah Medical City received 16,807 referral requests in 2015, a 13.6% increase compared with 2014. Over time, the process of referral unwieldy, making the process less efficient and effective. By addressing the application of Lean principles and Six Sigma methodology to improve the referral process, this study reveals implications for their use in the healthcare industry. Then DMAIC methodology was utilized to decrease the delay in physicians’ response time to the referral system. After the Lean Six Sigma project was completed, a noticeable improvement in compliance to response times was achieved and sigma improved from 2.05 to 2.2; even greater improvement is expected after all of the long term recommendations have been applied.

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