Background and purpose: Lean Six Sigma methodology is increasingly used to drive improvement in patient safety, quality of care, and cost-effectiveness throughout the US health care delivery system. To demonstrate our value as specialists, radiologists can combine lean methodologies along with imaging expertise to optimize imaging elements-of-care pathways. In this article, we describe a Lean Six Sigma project with the goal of reducing the relative use of pediatric head CTs in our population of patients with hydrocephalus by 50% within 6 months.
Materials and methods: We applied a Lean Six Sigma methodology using a multidisciplinary team at a quaternary care academic children's center. The existing baseline imaging practice for hydrocephalus was outlined in a Kaizen session, and potential interventions were discussed. An improved radiation-free workflow with ultrafast MR imaging was created. Baseline data were collected for 3 months by using the departmental radiology information system. Data collection continued postintervention and during the control phase (each for 3 months). The percentage of neuroimaging per technique (head CT, head ultrasound, ultrafast brain MR imaging, and routine brain MR imaging) was recorded during each phase.
Results: The improved workflow resulted in a 75% relative reduction in the percentage of hydrocephalus imaging performed by CT between the pre- and postintervention/control phases (Z-test, P = .0001).
Conclusions: Our lean interventions in the pediatric hydrocephalus care pathway resulted in a significant reduction in head CT orders and increased use of ultrafast brain MR imaging.
© 2016 by American Journal of Neuroradiology.