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Using Quality Improvement Methodology to Reduce Costs while Improving Efficiency and Provider Satisfaction in a Busy, Academic Musculoskeletal Radiology Division

  • Baccei, Steven J.
  • Henderson, Scott
  • Lo, Hao S.
  • Reynolds, Kevin
Publication Date
Apr 21, 2020
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Within an everchanging healthcare system, continuous evaluation of standard operating procedures must be performed to ensure optimization of system level organization, communication, and efficiency. Using the Lean management approach, our institution introduced modifications to our musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology workflow in order to facilitate beneficial change that improved clinical workflow efficiency, reduced moonlighting costs, and improved radiologist satisfaction without sacrificing quality of care. The scope of our study included the MSK division of adult inpatient and outpatient populations at three hospitals in a single academic medical center. A root cause analysis was executed to determine the causative factors contributing to clinical inefficiency. Five main factors were identified, and appropriate countermeasures were introduced. Efficiency was measured via the turnaround time (TAT) for radiographic examinations, measured from exam completion to final report submission. Moonlighting expenses were monitored for the fiscal year in which the modifications were implemented. Surveys were administered to MSK radiologists before and after the countermeasures were introduced to determine subjective ratings of efficiency and satisfaction. The average TAT within our MSK division decreased from 40 h to 12 h after introducing changes to our workflow. During one fiscal year, moonlighting expenses decreased from $26,000 to $5000. Post-study survey results indicated increased efficiency of and satisfaction with our implemented modifications to the scheduling and clinical workflow. Optimization of our radiology department's workflow led to increased productivity, efficiency, and radiologist satisfaction, as well as a reduction in moonlighting costs. This project leveraged Lean management principles to combat clinical inefficiency, waste time, and high costs.

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