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

years, particularly in hospitals. But no standard benchmarks existed for oncology practices -- until now.

"At the beginning, most practices that we surveyed were engaged in some quality related activities, but there was very little consistency," said Dr. Fryefield, medical director at Willamette Valley Cancer Center in Eugene, Ore.

"There were plenty of good ideas, but not the full package. The PQE program was designed to bring consistency to the quality and efficiency related activities within the network practices."

A PQE guiding principal is that an unmeasured process is an uncontrolled process. Applying the Six Sigma methodology to introduce stringent practice-efficiency processes has produced results across the network. Overall, practices have experienced a:

-- 33 percent decline in patient wait times

-- 16 percent increase in chemotherapy chair utilization

-- 12-16 percent improvement in timely and complete physician orders

-- 10-15 percent increase in availability of physicians to see new

patients

While each practice is unique and must examine the effectiveness of its own processes and protocols, the methodology is the same. In the case of patient wait times, barriers contributing to the problem are identified, e.g., lab reports not being ready for the physician at the time of the patient visit or an order for the lab not being written by the physician before the visit. Each barrier is addressed and corrected with value-added solutions, meaning the outcome is quantifiably improved patient care without the addition of cost, time or staff. In the case of lab reports, a re-education with scheduling staff and physicians may be all that is necessary to ensure lab reports are available at the scheduled visit, ultimately resulting in a reduction in patient wait times and a more utilized and balanced patient schedule.

The PQE committee was formed to develop a single quantifiable quality
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SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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