Process Mapping and Time Study to Improve Efficiency of New Procedure Implementation for High–Dose Rate Prostate Brachytherapy
New technologies and procedures have the potential to improve outcomes; however, initial implementation is often associated with a steep learning curve, decreased efficiency, and patient safety implications. Implementation of a real-time, ultrasound-based prostate high–dose rate brachytherapy procedure involved a multidisciplinary team composed of approximately 6–8 team members and numerous complex tasks. To characterize time spent on various aspects of the procedure and improve efficiency, the team developed a detailed process map, time study, and team debriefings. A benchmark was created based on an experienced institution which has performed >100 procedures annually. The process map was analyzed based on clinical tasks and treatment planning tasks. Over the course of 17 cases at a single institution, total procedure time ranged from 222 to 107 minutes. Implementation of the process map resulted in a reduction of total time by 52%. The implementation of a new procedure benefits from the integration and utilization of a process map. We were able to reduce procedure time significantly, which resulted in decreased time under general anesthesia, reduced risk of deep vein thrombosis, improved overall patient safety, patient throughput, and decreases in staffing demands.