A case study: Applying quality improvement methods to reduce pre-operative length of stay in a resource-constrained setting in Rwanda

Ssebuufu Robinson, Victor Pawelzik, Abraham Megentta, Oswald Benimana, Damascene Mazimpaka, Jules Ndoli, Augustin Sendegeya, Rex Wong


Objective: While several studies have focused on improving the quality of surgery, less attention has been paid to reducing pre-operative delays in care. We undertook a hospital quality improvement (QI) effort to reduce pre-operative delays in a teaching hospital in Rwanda. Without a coordinated admission schedule, many surgical patients arriving at the hospital for admissions were turned away because of unavailable beds. For those admitted for surgery, the pre-operative waits were long.
Methods: A pre- and post-intervention study was conducted to examine the impact of a QI effort on two metrics: 1) pre-operative length-of-stay (LOS) for elective surgical patients, and 2) the number of elective surgical patients who were turned away on the scheduled admission date. Intervention: A multi-disciplinary work group utilized a Strategic Problem Solving Approach and implemented a centralized patient wait list and new schedule process utilizing the existing resources available at the hospital.
Results: The percentage of elective surgical patients with a pre-operative LOS of more than two days was significantly lower in the post-intervention compared with the pre-intervention period (80% versus 26.8%, p-value < .001). The percentage of scheduled patients who were turned away due unavailable inpatient beds significantly decreased from 63.4% to 5.3%, p-value < .001.
Conclusions: By following a methodical strategic problem solving approach, the pre-operative LOS was reduced, elective surgical patients turned away due to unavailable beds was decreased at very low financial cost.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v5n1p41


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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