Process Improvement in Phlebotomy
Huang, Yunqu (Coey)
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This study has two main objectives. First, the phlebotomy process at the St. Catharines Site of the Niagara Health System is investigated, which starts when an order for a blood test is placed, and ends when the specimen arrives at the lab. The performance measurement is the flow time of the process, which reflects concerns and interests of both the hospital and the patients. Three popular operational methodologies are applied to reduce the flow time and improve the process: DMAIC from Six Sigma, lean principles and simulation modeling. Potential suggestions are provided for the St. Catharines Site, which could result in an average of seven minutes reduction in the flow time. The second objective addresses the fact that these three methodologies have not been combined before in a process improvement effort. A structured framework combining them is developed to benefit future study of phlebotomy and other hospital processes.