Budgetary Bandage

Abstract:Community health service providers in Ontario, Canada, applied Six Sigma principles to improve processes and trim costs. Staff identified wound care as a key driver of rising expenditures. Pareto charts illustrating costs by supply categories indicated that high usage of certain costly wound care products were driving rising expenditures. Mapping a typical patient interaction and front-line nurse activity revealed potential problem spots. This led to focusing on supplies ordered for wound patients prior to hospital discharge, relative cost of product options, and using available but less expensive wound care products, as well as changes in the way data were tracked. An education program for staff, new order forms displaying product prices, changes in the product formulary, and policy changes for routine practices led to an average drop of about 8 percent in monthly …

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