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Emergency Department Prescribes Lean for Process Improvement

Summary: With emergency department patient satisfaction scores slipping into the unhealthy 30th percentile, leaders at Mercy Medical Center wrote a prescription for process improvement that would ultimately reduce the length of stay for patients receiving emergency care. The therapy was lean, and satisfaction scores quickly rose to the 95th percentile after a cross-functional team completed value stream mapping to identify and eliminate non-value-added steps in the department. From the initial mapping came a series of lean cycle change initiatives, one of which led to the creation of Mercy’s Fast Track service to treat less acute patients in one hour or less. By improving process flow, the capacity to serve patients increased, and the department soon experienced a 6% growth in patient census.

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