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Improving patient flow in diagnostic imaging: a case report

  • Jessome, Rebecca
Published Article
Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.
Publication Date
Sep 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmir.2020.08.014
PMID: 32950432
PMCID: PMC7495148
PubMed Central


Introduction This case study focuses on Erie Shores Healthcare, a small Canadian hospital with a busy emergency department (ED) who acts as the sole provider of outpatient diagnostic imaging (DI) services to the community. The hospital is experiencing bottlenecks when balancing outpatient diagnostic procedures with inpatient and urgent ED requests in the X-Ray department, creating the need for increased overtime and missed breaks, as well as frustrations amongst patients, staff and physicians. Case and Outcomes To alleviate these issues and improve patient flow, this case study aims to identify options for increasing efficiency, improving adaptive workflow and decreasing wait times during peak hours in X-Ray. Discussion After a literature review, key components were narrowed down to include the following Lean Methods: floor plan evaluation with spaghetti diagrams, collection of benchmarking data from similar Canadian sites, and a real-time Client Flow Analysis. The potential benefits of Technologist Assistants (TA) and DI-dedicated porters are also explored. Conclusion Lean methodology is an effective way to evaluate and improve patient flow in DI. Healthcare organizations should take advantage of key redevelopment projects and technological advancements to maximize their departmental efficiency.

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