Sylvester Outpatient Unit Team Wins Prestigious State Award for Efficiency Improvements

A multidisciplinary project team from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center won first prize at the 2014 Annual Sterling Conference Team Showcase Award Banquet, held May 30 in Orlando. “Team CTU Miami” won the statewide competition over five other finalists for a project entitled “Systematically Decreasing Wait Time in an Outpatient Oncology Treatment Unit.”

The Sterling competition recognizes organizational teams that have demonstrated performance-improvement or problem-solving achievements. Team CTU Miami — the acronym stands for Comprehensive Treatment Unit — set out to reduce the wait time for outpatients needing same-day chemotherapy and laboratory services.

The team used Six Sigma methodology to analyze outpatient processes and identify areas of efficiency improvement. By reallocating existing resources, a new workflow was created that resulted in a 53 percent decrease in laboratory turnaround time and a 26 percent decrease in wait time for all patients.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said Sylvester CEO Richard Ballard. “They are passionate about what they do, and they wanted to improve. They took it upon themselves to organize as a group, and every step of patient contact was represented. The care process requires teamwork, and everything has to happen the right way at the right time.

“Some of our chemotherapy patients come here every day,” he said. “One of the most precious gifts we can give them is time. The less time they spend here, the more time they have with their families.”

“Our mission is to support our patients every step of the way as they strive to become or remain cancer-free,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester and professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology. “As we provide lifesaving treatments, we must make the patient experience superb. By streamlining our outpatient treatments, Team CTU Miami is making a meaningful contribution to patients and their families.”

Sylvester frequently uses Six Sigma, a set of techniques to help improve processes, said Ballard.

“We recently completed a project in the inpatient unit to improve patient satisfaction,” he said. “When we began, patient satisfaction was only in the 38th percentile; now we’re in the 90th percentile or above. We have other projects in the works to decrease waiting times in the ambulatory clinic and in our interventional radiology procedures.”

Established in 1992, the Florida Sterling Council is supported by the Executive Office of the Governor of Florida and recognizes organizations that set standards of excellence throughout their industries. The Team Showcase Championship is designed to recognize the teams and motivate others to embrace performance-excellence practices throughout their organizations.

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