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
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