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US Oncology Manufacturing-Inspired Practice Management Model Producing Quality and Efficiency Improvements
Date:6/6/2008

Patient wait times down; use of resources, accuracy and new patient visits

improved

HOUSTON, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A new oncology practice management model adapted from a successful manufacturing process is yielding substantial results for enhancing patient access to advanced cancer care while improving efficiency.

The model, developed by the US Oncology Practice Quality and Efficiency (PQE) Program committee, stresses defining and measuring a problem, determining root causes, mobilizing change initiatives and sustaining improvements, said David Fryefield, MD, PQE committee chair and US Oncology network member. Oncology practices that have introduced the PQE model have realized declining patient wait times, increased efficiency of chemotherapy staff and infusion room resources, improvements to the timeliness and completeness of orders, and improved efficiency for physicians, who can then devote more time to patient care.

"When we started this process, we wanted to focus on what we could realistically accomplish -- not what we may want to do," said Dr. Fryefield, who discussed the PQE model over the weekend at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). "It was important that the program could be easily adopted by any oncology practice, large or small. We didn't want any barriers to program adoption, so we strived to keep the cost of the program and the impact on the physician workload to a minimum. This is designed to be a quality program for the common doctor."

PQE introduces elements of Lean Six Sigma, an approach commonly used in systematically managing workflow in just-in-time manufacturing settings, to oncology practices. The goal is to ensure that every patient treated in a US Oncology affiliated practice receives the right treatment, delivered the right way, at the right time. Process improvement models have been utilized in healthcare delivery for a number of
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SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
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