Send to

Choose Destination
Ir Med J. 2013 Apr;106(4):105-7.

STEPS: lean thinking, theory of constraints and identifying bottlenecks in an emergency department.

Author information

Department of Public Health Medicine, Iona House, Ballyshannon, Sligo.


This study aimed to identify the bottlenecks in patients' journeys through an emergency department (ED). For each stage of the patient journey, the average times were compared between two groups divided according to the four hour time frame and disproportionate delays were identified using a significance test These bottlenecks were evaluated with reference to a lean thinking value-stream map and the five focusing steps of the theory of constraints. A total of 434 (72.5%) ED patients were tracked over one week. Logistic regression showed that patients who had radiological tests, blood tests or who were admitted were 4.4, 4.1 and 7.7 times more likely, respectively, to stay over four hours in the ED than those who didn't The stages that were significantly delayed were the time spent waiting for radiology (p = 0.001), waiting for the in-patient team (p = 0.004), waiting for a bed (p < 0.001) and ED doctor turnaround time (p < 0.001).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center