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Using Lean Six Sigma to Improve Controlled Drug Processes and Release Nursing Time
2019-07-01, Creed, Maria, McGuirk, Michelle, Buckley, Ruth, De Brún, Aoife, Kilduff, Marie
BACKGROUND: Hospital controlled drug processes are established to adhere to legislation, with little consideration of efficiency of processes. LOCAL PROBLEM: A controlled drug process existed, where nurses requested a porter to collect a hand-written order; however, only 19% of drug orders were processed this way. Instead, an unscheduled, ad hoc process led to an average of 17 nurse journeys to pharmacy daily. We aimed to reduce nurse journeys to the pharmacy by 25% to release nursing time. METHODS: A pre-/postintervention design was used with Lean Six Sigma methods. INTERVENTIONS: A multifaceted intervention involved process redesign, increasing the frequency of a porter-led delivery service, amending delivery times to reflect times of greatest need, and streamlining checking requirements. RESULTS: Following implementation, there was a statistically significant 44% decrease in nurse journeys to pharmacy for drug collections, which was maintained after 18 months. CONCLUSIONS: Interprofessional collaboration improving hospital-wide processes can have significant benefits for the release of nursing time.