Accelerating gynecologic oncology care pathways with process improvement support from Philips consultants
Starting treatment as quickly as possible for highly anxious cancer patients was the goal of the University Medical Center – Utrecht. Clinical consultants from Philips helped the Tumor Board of the gynecologic oncology department identify opportunities and design realistic solutions. By implementing the improvements, there is a tighter handoff from diagnosis to treatment. Tumor Board meeting time has also been cut by 40%.
Helping a Tumor Board increase efficiency
The Tumor Board at the University Medical Center – Utrecht (UMC-Utrecht) is an interdisciplinary team of specialists, responsible for confirming the diagnosis and recommending the treatment plan for oncology patients at UMC-Utrecht. For various reasons, the Tumor Board for gynecologic oncology had over-extended its focus. This meant it was sometimes taking longer than desired to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment (time-to-treatment) – a key challenge in highly anxious patients.
One day won is one day saved
To shorten its time-to-treatment window, the Tumor Board worked with two clinical consultants from Philips Healthcare Transformation Services (HTS) on an intensive process improvement project. Small focus group meetings were held to identify areas of improvement and performance data was collected by the consultants. During this process, Philips consultants apply their own version of the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology based on dedicated analytical tools, clinical and technical data, and intense collaboration with customer teams. During Kaizen breakout sessions, the project team focused on three top issues. “One day won is one day saved” was the mantra for the Kaizen sessions.
Philips consultants use the DMAIC methodology (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control), a proven, data-driven improvement process to improve business processes at healthcare facilities.
Faster time-to-treatment and efficient meetings
As a result of this process, the goals of the Tumor Board were confirmed and prioritized. Their meetings were consolidated and restructured – cutting overall meeting time nearly in half. If the diagnosis could not be fully confirmed during the Tumor Board meeting, if/then scenarios of the most likely results and associated options were discussed in the meeting.
This was done to allow treatment to immediately progress as soon as the diagnosis was confirmed, generally within one or two days following the meeting. Several other structural changes were made in the care process to ensure efficient follow-up.
This diagram shows a comparison of the current and new situations for the Tumor Board workflow. The new workflow has tightened the handoff from diagnosis to treatment and reduced Tumor Board meeting time by 40%.
Philips Healthcare Transformation Services
Philips Healthcare Transformation Services provides clinical consultative services and education to support healthcare facilities in providing better care and increasing value. The heart of their approach is providing objective data, experience flow mapping, and change management support to achieve sustainable transformation.
Philips HTS unlocks insights across the care continuum to deliver meaningful value to healthcare institutions. This project focused on the Diagnosis and Treatment stages of the gynecologic oncology care pathway.
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