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Building Hospital Management Capacity to Improve Patient Flow for Cardiac Catheterization at a Cardiovascular Hospital in Egypt

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Background: Quality improvement (QI) has been shown to be effective in improving hospital care in high-income countries, but evidence of its use in low- and middle-income countries has been limited to date. The impact of a QI intervention to reduce patient waiting time and overcrowding for cardiac catheterization—the subset of procedures associated with the most severe bottlenecks in patient flow at the National Heart Institute in Cairo—was investigated.

Methods: A pre-post intervention study was conducted to examine the impact of a new scheduling system on patient waiting time and overcrowdedness for cardiac catheterization. The sample consisted of 628 consecutive patients in the pre-intervention period (July–August 2009) and 1,607 in the postintervention period (September–November 2010).

Results: The intervention was associated with significant reductions in waiting time and patient crowdedness. On average, total patient waiting time from arrival to beginning the catheterization procedure decreased from 208 minutes to 180 minutes (13% decrease, p < .001). Time between arrival at registration and admission to inpatient ward unit decreased from 33 minutes to 24 minutes (27% decrease, p < .001). Patient waiting time immediately prior to the catheterization laboratory procedure decreased from 79 minutes to 58 minutes (27% decrease, p < .001). The percentage of patients arriving between 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. decreased from 88% to 44% (50% decrease, p < .001), reducing patient crowding.

Conclusion: With little financial investment, the patient scheduling system significantly reduced waiting time and crowdedness in a resource-limited setting. The capacity-building effort enabled the hospital to sustain the scheduling system and data collection after the Egyptian revolution and departure of the mentoring team in January 2011.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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