Purpose: This study used Lean Six Sigma to reduce patient waiting time in a Kuwaiti private hospital obstetrics and gynaecology clinic.
Approach: The DMAIC methodology (define, measure, analyse, improve, and control) was used. The ‘define’ stage involved identifying patients’ needs, system capabilities, and project objectives. The ‘measure’ stage assessed the system’s current state through data collection on waiting times. Dunnett’s test, control charts, and process capability analysis were used to ensure data accuracy. In the ‘analyse’ stage, an Ishikawa diagram and Pareto chart were constructed, showing that overbooking appointments, doctors’ unscheduled breaks, and doctors not arriving on time were the root causes of the problem. The ‘improve’ stage used an Arena simulation model to represent current and improved system status. The proposed solutions were implemented and monitored in the ‘control’ stage.
Findings: A sigma-level improvement of 300% (0.5 to 2.0) was realized for appointment patients on Saturdays, with a 67% reduction in waiting time. For walk-ins, the sigma level improved by 288% (0.8 to 3.1), with a 55% reduction in waiting time. For weekday appointments, the sigma level improved by 111% (0.9 to 1.9), with a 63% reduction in waiting time. For walk-ins, the sigma level improved by 69% (1.6 to 2.7), with a 46% reduction in waiting time. A cost–benefit analysis estimated the present project value at $656,459, leading to a total of $5,820,319 in savings by 2025.
Originality/value: This paper fulfils the need for process improvement, increasing patients’ satisfaction and hospitals’ profitability using Lean Six Sigma.