This study aimed to streamline workflow from arrival to infusion bay by decreasing patient wait time to increase patient value in a high-volume academic outpatient oncology infusion unit. The streamlining process involved identifying and prioritizing patients for treatment by driving out waste in patient flow.


The plan-do-check-act (PDCA) method and LEAN Methodology were used in completing a project to streamline a defined subset of patient experiences within an outpatient oncology infusion unit in an academic comprehensive cancer center. Wait time for patients whose labs were completed before treatment day and within normal limits and whose orders were signed the day before treatment was collected manually for a period of 5 months and tracked via value stream maps and control charts.


Patients experienced a decrease of 17 minutes in mean patient arrival to infusion bay start time (arrival to infusion bay - from 77 minutes to 60 minutes). Additionally, a value stream analysis demonstrated that in the new process, patient touch points were decreased by two, and value-added time was increased by 17%.


By using the LEAN systematic PDCA tool, the team was able to identify opportunities to reduce waste in the system and streamline patient care. The results demonstrated a significant improvement in reducing patient wait time from arrival to infusion bay start time and increasing percentage of total value added during a patient's treatment cycle.

No matter where your clinic is located, no matter what specialty you're in and no matter how big or small your clinic is, it's always prudent to measure patient flow efficiency from when the patient checks-in to when the patient checks-out AND each step in between. Increasing patient flow efficiency will improve the patient experience AND can ultimately increase your bottomline.

Connect with us and we will be happy to consult with you on how we can help improve your patient flow efficiency.