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Using ‘lean’ techniques to slash ER waits

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An article in Healthcare Informatics reports on how Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento, one of California’s busiest emergency departments, slashed patient-wait times to far below the national average thanks to adopting the sort of ”lean” processes used in manufacturing.

Kaiser South Sacramento’s average wait time is only 19 minutes, less than half the national average of 58 minutes. Length of stay is also down to 43 minutes for low-acuity patients, compared to the 118-minute national average.

To help achieve this, Kaiser  streamlined its extensive triage process, cut its screening exam from 19 minutes to two minutes, and now has physician-nurse teams control patient flow.



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