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For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2012
(LONDON, Ontario) – Wait times for Computed Tomography (CT) have been dramatically reduced at St. Joseph’s Health Care London and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) as a result of a process-improvement project. For patients, this means quicker access to an important imaging tool.
Over the past year, the patient wait times for CT (outpatients and inpatients combined) have been reduced for both organizations by more than half, to just 26 days for St. Joseph’s and 28 days for LHSC. With CT wait times regularly at or below the provincial government target of 28 days, LHSC and St. Joseph’s are now consistently performing among the best in the province compared to peer hospitals. The wait time in the province is 33 days for outpatient and inpatients combined, 39 days for outpatients only.
CT is used for preventive medicine and diagnosis for diseases such as cancer. Each year LHSC performs more than 50,000 CT scans and St. Joseph’s more than 11,500.
"We have made a significant improvement in wait times for a service that is often a bottleneck for patient access and flow in hospitals,” says Glen Kearns, Integrated Vice President, Diagnostic Services, for LHSC and St. Joseph’s. “The progress we’ve made with respect to CT wait times represents our overall commitment to reducing wait times and improving access to all of our services for patients.”
No additional funding, staffing or equipment was received by the medical imaging departments that conducted the project.
The process-improvement project involved cross-functional teams of medical imaging staff and radiologists from the medical imaging departments at St. Joseph’s Hospital and LHSC’s University and Victoria hospitals. The groups undertook a rigorous review of patient flow and booking processes and identified opportunities for standardization and workload balancing. The application of Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, traditionally used in manufacturing environments, allowed the teams to quickly implement the process-improvement strategies and measure the outcomes.
"Through gained efficiencies we’ve been able to perform about 1,500 more CTs exams per year in London without adding any additional staff or equipment,” says Tony Orfanides, Director, Medical imaging for both LHSC and Joseph’s. “Process-improvement is an ongoing and continuous process. Each month, we review our data and continue to look for new opportunities to better standardize procedures and use resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. Thanks to the dedication of all the staff and doctors, patients at LHSC and St. Joseph’s will have even quicker access to potentially lifesaving diagnosis that allows them to get treated faster.”
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
St. Joseph’s Health Care London is leading patient care, teaching and research centre in Canada with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. Every year, nearly 600,000 patient visits are made to St. Joseph’s, where about 9,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. For more information, visit www.sjhc.london.on.ca
For media inquiries contact:
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
(519) 685-8500 ext. 75947
Communications and Public Affairs
St. Joseph's Health Care London
(519) 646-6100 ext. 65294